Big Trouble by Judge Unger

A Review by Mark Rowe

The band Judge Unger hails from central California and features Star Cannon "The Kosmic Diva" on vocals, "Frank 7" Garay on guitar and 12-string bassist Odell "Inspector 12" Robinson. Odell also does some of the backing vocal work. Matt Evans is credited on drums although he is no longer with the band.

There are twelve songs on this CD, almost an hour of music. Eleven of the songs were recorded with a Hamer CH-12 12-string bass, while the song "Far East" was recorded with a Carlo Robelli 8-string bass.

Big Trouble was six years in the making so there is a mix of older and newer material here. On the songs "Memories Fade, "Today" and "Smackdown" there is a scratch 12-string bass track underneath more recent tracks. Full sound? You bet! Odell ran all the highs on his 12 through a Wasabi chorus pedal. Between this and using a variety of different DI / mics / mixing techniques, every song has a different 12-string sound. A 5-string bass was also used on the song "Smackdown" for extra low-end power.

While everyone in the band delivers solid performances, it's Star Cannon's powerhouse vocals that really reach out and initially grab you. Here are my favorite tunes:

"Guilty" - This song has me imagining Rush jamming with Biff Naked. Very Alex Lifeson-esque guitar work and interesting vocals.

"Memories Fade" - Heavy and powerful. What more needs to be said?

"Smackdown" - Interesting syncopated groove. I actually wasn't that impressed with this song when I first heard it but it's been steadily growing on me. It has a haunting quality to it.

"Imitation" - Cool bass tone that's perfect for this song!

Big Trouble is a solid effort. Powerful vocals, good bass tones and interesting guitar work. And thanks to Odell for the props for this site in the liner notes!

Big Trouble is available on the CD Baby website


Be sure to check out Judge Unger's MySpace page and Odell Robinson's Featured Player page