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Rx Bandits: The ResignationThe Resignation (2003)
Reviewer Rating: 3
The Resignation by the RX Bandits has been on my look-out list since the summer began. Others included Shai Hulud, Posion the Well, Fairweather, Brand New, 311 and Thrice. The first four have been released and I have enjoyed them all very much. 311 and Thrice are set to be released on the 25th of July, which should be a great day musically. Until then, The RX Bandits filled my void of new music. I have been a fan since right before Progress and The Resignation is not as a hard hitting as that album. This album seems to be half great and half disposable tunes.
The RX Bandits have been around for about seven years and are by far the only talented band on their label. While the owners look to continue finding cloned bands, the Bandits forge on with their eclectic sound. However this album is not as big a leap as Progress (their sophomore album) from their debut (Halfway Between Here and There).
First off, the art of the album is top notch. I enjoy it when bands create quality artwork to represent their music. It is crucial to getting a feel of the group. Along with Shai Hulud's Within Ill Tempered Blood and Posion The Well's You Come Before You, The Resignation stands out and elicits a reaction from the viewer (the wonderful work is done by Aaron Nagel at www.aaronnagel.com).
Packaging on the other hand creates problems. Since there are two CD's (the music CD and the DVD), the designers had left out a place to store the lyric booklet. I don't know how many of you are like me, but I will lose this thing within a week. This isn't a bad thing, though, since the lyrics are scrunched together and painstakingly small. There goes more of my eyesight.
Okay, but is the music any good, I hear you groaning. The simple answer is "Yes it is good … but is nothing revolutionary."
The stand out tracks of the disc are Sell You Beautiful, Newstand Rock (exposition) , Overcome (the recapitulation) and Mastering the List.
Sell You Beautiful is what many may have been hearing as a sample from this album. Some people have been bashing it because it is too pop sounding. I agreed with the majority … when I first heard it. Then I let the music and lyrics sink in. Lyricist Matt Embree is trying to vocalize the disgusting way people hide themselves to become more beautiful.
Newstand Rock (exposition) is the real reason I love this band. This is the most political track of the album, with fists punching at first the government (namely the war in Iraq) and to the "hollow candy coated melodies" that take over the radio waves. A kick ass rock song if there was ever one.
Overcome (the recapitulation) provides the true reggae styling of the band. Embree's vocals coupled with percussionist Chris Tsagakis pounding drums produce a stone cold grove. Fueled on Newstand Rock, the song moves from "the politicians wars" and "military scoreboards" to Embree proclaiming the "positive will always overcome the negative." Another great political Bandits song.
Mastering the List comes in as the longest song of the album at just over seven minutes. It is a collection of all their styles, from the jam pickup to the reggae vocals to the rock chorus. Lyrics such as "we are finding out that we know better" seem to symbolize what identity the band feels they have. Embree gripes about "falling in line" by attending school, getting a job and family and then dying yet sings it in a heartfelt enough way to not sound preachy. The final four minutes of the song find the band free styling to the overall scheme with a spacey slow down halfway through.
The album is not without its faults though. Generic rock songs such as Prophetic and Falling Down the Mountain provide the weak points in the album. The background noises of Falling sound annoying in comparison to organist Steve Choi's usual accompaniment. These two seem to be background filler for the rest of the disc.
So to recap; Art, good. Packaging, frustrating. Songs, half good half decent. Again, nothing like the big leap for Progress, but a good addition to their discography.
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