For over a decade, Death By Unga Bunga has supplied their own blend of punchy rock and roll, joyful power pop, and wavy psychedelia that reels you in and doesn’t let go.
Hailing from Moss, Norway, the band formed in 2007 after lead singer and guitarist Sebastian Ulstad Olsen held auditions out of his own garage. Since those early days, Olsen, Preben S. Andersen (guitar/keyboards), Stian S. Gulbrandsen (guitar), Even Rolland Pettersen (bass) and Ole S. Nesset (drums) have been doing things their own way, unafraid to evolve and build on the powerhouse sound longtime fans have come to know them for.
Death By Unga Bunga took their name from the title of legendary punk band The Mummies’ 2003 record, which they note as a source of creative inspiration. Influences aside, the band has proven time and time again that they are no cookie-cutter copy of their predecessors.
In 2010, they burst onto the rock scene with their debut LP Juvenile Jungle. Vibrant, jangly, and filled with swagger, songs like “Don’t Go Looking For My Heart” showcase the group’s boundless energy and fearlessness. After building a loyal fanbase, they dropped their 2012 follow-up The Kids Are up to No Good. They continued to experiment by putting their own spin on styles, like the retro 60s rhythms of “Feel Alright” to the soulful horn section in “Shakes All Over.”
Creating music is a constant for Death by Unga Bunga. The following year, they released another LP You’re an Animal, which featured sleeker production and even more infectious, danceable melodies.
With the release of their 2016 breakthrough Pineapple Pizza, Death by Unga Bunga won over listeners in America, gaining airplay from hundreds of stations while playing to packed shows across the country. Their U.S. trek included a slot opening for punk rock legends Stiff Little Fingers on their national 40th Anniversary Tour, putting them in front of a whole new audience of music lovers. Along with these big accomplishments, the band spent the rest of 2016 and 2017 on the road in the UK and Germany.
They quickly followed up Pineapple Pizza with their 2016 EP Fight!, which showed off a new side of the band. This collection of songs added in gritty elements of 70s psych and hard rock alongside the polish of 80s hair metal and youthful garage rock. These anthemic tracks earned praise from an array of outlets, including Paste and Stereogum.
In 2018, they upped the ante by releasing their fifth full-length album So Far So Good So Cool. The self-produced record shows the band’s range, from the synthy goodness of “Cynical” to the riff-driven rock singalong “Haunt Me.” There’s a confidence that shines in every song — something that only comes from years of cultivating your own art without apologies. With irresistible hooks, a sense of humor, and guitar licks for days, it’s no surprise that their songs have earned hundreds of thousands of streams.
Two years later, Death by Unga Bunga is ready to unleash some of their best work so far. With more music at the ready, listeners should buckle up for rock and roll that will fill your soul and make you forget about the troubles of modern life: You’ll find all this on Heavy Male Insecurity, out on Jansen Records February 12th, 2021.
Today Glide is excited to premiere “Egocentric,” one of a handful of new singles the band has at the ready. Firing off with an upbeat rock and roll groove, the band puts their punk-pop sensibilities to good use here with catchy melodies, a fine dose of shredding guitars, and even some psyched out space synths. The title of the song also connects to the album’s title, which bluntly addresses an increasingly frequent problem in these days of Trumpism. Dueling guitar solos raise the shred factor and sends the second half of the song soaring into rock and roll oblivion, making this the kind of music that is best ingested while jumping around at a crowded club or festival. Who knows…maybe one day that will happen and we will all enjoy the righteousness of Death by Unga Bunga together. In the meantime, we should be thankful they are giving us some fun, high energy escapism.
The band describes the inspiration behind the song:
“The egocentric mind has no empathy for others and their opinions. Something you’d expect from a child but is often still the case for an insecure grown man. It’s OK to be selfish sometimes, but it doesn’t mean you have to be a complete dick all the time.”
Death By Unga Bunga: New LP, ‘Heavy Male Insecurity’, out Feb. 12 via Jansen Records
pre-order here: https://orcd.co/heavymalepre
Photo credit: Martin Bremnes