By Jim Schutze
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"I look like Fred Durst in this fucking hat," says Jakob Sereno, lead singer of the Uncontrollable Urge, as he tosses the offending cap to drummer Chris Galbraith. Sereno fidgets in his chair as he listens to a newly recorded track in a studio in northwest Dallas. Excited by the sounds he hears, Sereno, a young father of two, smiles as he takes in his own tortured wailing.
"Schizophrenia is part of our sound," says guitarist Jovan Santos. "We just can't follow one path." Indeed, songs such as "Behave" and "The Bastard Plan" show a band channeling influences as diverse as The Police, Pantera and Faith No More, all topped off with Sereno's trebly shriek, a nod to punk godfather Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys.
Originally from El Paso, Sereno formed the band in San Antonio and brought Galbraith and Santos with him to Dallas three years ago where they soon hooked up with bassist Matt Ostman. After months of rehearsing, the band (named after a Devo song) started playing gigs at Bar of Soap, Reno's Chop Shop and the recently closed Tac Room, drawing attention for Sereno's wild stage antics (he once appeared in a bloody jock strap the day after his vasectomy) and the band's disparate mix of punk, metal, funk and jazz.
"Dallas is filled with exactly the same type of bands," says Ostman. "People here are used to hearing the same fucking thing, and we want to change that."
Part of that change starts with the recording of a three-song EP and a live DVD to be released this fall. The band recently won free studio time for being chosen the best act at a Goodnight Audio Showcase and seems to entice a few more fans into their warped universe with each new gig.
"A lot of people like us who don't generally like heavy music," says Ostman. And while the sound of the Uncontrollable Urge is definitely heavy--even Durst-like, though Sereno might not admit it--it's also laced with uncommon elements such as ambient keyboards and choppy neo-funk rhythms. Other tracks feature improvisational jams and even facets of dub and lounge.
"We don't shut out any ideas," says Sereno. "And we don't latch onto anyone's train."
The nearly completed studio track "Join Us" bristles with an odd energy, a warped concoction of metal's overbearing gloom and old school punk's political defiance. Sereno brings a chaotic sensibility to the proceedings, like the brat kid out to spoil the picnic. But it's exactly his nervous twitch and manic persona that unifies the many elements jumping in and out of the molten mix.
"We have enough material for three CDs," Sereno boasts, "but we want to make a live DVD so people can experience everything we do." Their GWAR-like concert antics are decidedly unnecessary, however, as the innate power and range of the songs carry the weight just fine. More is not always better, and the four members of the Uncontrollable Urge are just now learning the value of restraint.
"We're all big dorks," proclaims Sereno. "Especially me...But now is our time." Despite his ever-present bravado--he goes so far as to call Urge "the best band nobody has heard of"--he just may be right.