Rye Coalition CD review [Gern Blandsten]

Music Reviews
Rye Coalition CD review [Gern Blandsten]
Mar 19, 2007, 04:01


Rye Coalition's Curses is nearly perfect, which may or may not be such a good thing.  Its arrangements are solid, and the songs are informed by all the right 70s sounds.  At times you'd think you were hearing the ultimate amalgam of AC/DC, KISS, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple.  The production is slick and seems to be crafted specifically to capture the veneer of 80's metal (think Ratt, Motley Crüe, Dokken, and Twisted Sister).  With Dave Grohl at the production helm you can tell that everyone involved in putting this thing together—from the songs to the sound—was bent on making the next Apocalypse Dudes.  And while all these pieces fit seamlessly together, it's almost perfection to a fault.  Rye Coalition capture the genre so well here that the effort ends up sounding pretty generic.  This slick, heavily produced album leaves little room for the organic and noisier origins of the band; and ironically, there are none of those earlier, characteristic flaws that give Curses a true sense of originality.  While songs like “Burn The Masters” and “Secret Heat” frame solid hooks with just the right amount of swagger, casting the perfect Paul Stanley pose, the lyrics are way too straightforward. Here you find the stereotypical fare of partying and driving along Hollywood Boulevard; but there's no embarrassment, no sense of self other than the tough-guy put-on.  As a result, the whole thing comes off lacking the soulful, shameless confession-of-the-fucked-up-mind that would better inform this kind of music—and its audience.  In part, it is this very concept that made Turbonegro's Apocalypse Dudes such a success.  One of the most interesting tracks, “Vietnam Veterinarian,” is buried in at track ten.  Its structure is less organized and the overall effort is rawer then the rest of the remaining songs, and you get cheerleaders backing the band for the chorus—a stunt I haven't heard since Smog's “Bloodflow” (2000's Dongs of Sevotion on Drag City)  Also standing out is the last bit of backing vocals in “Young Yellers,” with the band singing in almost elliptical rhythm behind singer Ralph Cuseglio.  Though lasting only a matter of seconds, this is one of the most interestingly crafted moments on the record.   While Curses a perfectly formulated record, I can't help thinking that it strives too hard for the genre. [Gern Blandsten]

-Paul M.

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