Puddle of Mudd – Ubiquitous (Album Review)

The Post-Grunge era of Rock music is an interesting one filled with some highlights, lowlights, and everything in between. A time when many bands emerged, and some found success, top leaders of the early 2000s scene would have to be Creed, Nickelback, and Puddle of Mudd. In fact, 2001 was a big year for all three bands – Creed peaking on charts with Weathered, Nickelback took the next step in becoming radio hit leaders with Silver Side Up, and Puddle of Mudd made a massive debut with Come Clean. Puddle of Mudd, a Midwest band dating all the way back to 1992, have perhaps one of the most interesting histories of the three bands in this discussion. 

Led by Wes Scantlin since the start, while their Puddle of Mudd’s lineup seems to have shifted many times over the past twenty, it may come as a surprise to some that they have actually sustained the same crew for nearly a decade at this point.  That in mind, there is no ignoring Scantlin’s own personal struggles through the years, but thankfully music has helped him find his way through troubled waters. In fact, one can surmise that music has been a saving grace for the singer-songwriter, who has worked hard to put out new Puddle of Mudd material from Come Clean, all the way through 2019’s Welcome to Galvania. All reaching charted positions along the way, now Puddle of Mudd return in 2023 with their latest work, Ubiquitous.

Released on September 8th through Pavement, Ubiquitous marks the band’s sixth studio album; seventh overall if you want to include their 2011 covers record Re:(disc)overed.  Furthermore, it marks a new wave of consistency for the band, who prior to Welcome to Galvania, had not released any original albums since a decade earlier with 2009’s Volume 4: Songs in the Key of Love & Hate. And for those who checked out Welcome to Galvania, it is safe to call it a quality record with some good tracks. So, what does Ubiquitous offer?

Well, the album is a bit of a mixed bag of styles – ranging from straight up Grunge vibes, to hybrid Country Rock tones, to more ballad-like tunes. In truth, it has mostly a ‘90s Hard Rock sound akin to Nirvana or Stone Temple Pilots; this is especially evident on songs like “My Baby,” “Dance with Me,” and “Cash & Cobain” which is a collaboration with prolific Producer Colin Brittain.  However, perhaps the biggest standouts have to be the mature piano-driven “Candy,” somber “Running out of Time,” and catchy “Complication.” Other tracks like “U Wrekd Me” and “California” are also pretty solid, while “Poke Out My Eyes” is easily the heaviest, rawest song of the entire collection.  

In all, Ubiquitous is a pretty stripped down, straight forward Rock record. There are plenty of moments that remind you that Scantlin is a very talented songwriter with still a lot left to offer. Some might say the songs created by Puddle of Mudd are rooted in ‘90s Alternative Hard Rock, and they would not be wrong, but it does not mean their music should simply be overlooked as just nostalgic. All these factors in mind, this is an album that sounds better with each passing track… and that seems almost tactfully laid out to keep your interest. Well done, and worth the listen for Puddle of Mudd fans, or thought seeking to get back to rawer, no frills Hard Rock, Cryptic Rock gives Ubiquitous 4 out of 5 stars.  

Puddle of Mudd – Ubiquitous / Pavement (2023)

Like the in-depth, diverse coverage of Cryptic Rock? Help us in support to keep the magazine going strong for years to come with a small donation.

No comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *