When I think of musical progression and a band's evolution, the Rx Bandits pop into my mind. The changes between "Halfway Between Here and There" and "Progress" were astounding. So now with my favorite sorta-ska band releasing "The Resignation", I was eager to see how the album would turn out, and I was pleasantly surprised.
"The Resignation" is a step further than "Progress" in complexity. The second guitarist that they added definitely shows through immediately with the opening song, "Sell You Beautiful". The song opens with very catchy poppy guitar riffs and hooks before it goes into standard complex Rx Bandits. It is in this song that the new guitar really shines through, and it takes the RxB to a whole new level.
Other songs like "Overcome" are heavy on the reggae. The song is similar to "In All Rwanda's Glory" from "Progress", only even slower. The lyrics are reminiscent of what we might have seen on signs during Berkeley protests. Eventually the song begins to pick up into a more standard Rx Bandit speeds, but the lyrics are what are on highlight in this song. Not much else is there, a guitar strumming every now and then, a repeating bass line, and a little bit of drums. The reggae influence definitely shows through on this album, with many songs that are like this one.
"Never Slept So Soundly" is one of the highlights of the album. It opens with a little bit of the keyboards, before launching into an eerie sounding trombone with an echo. The song is slow for the most part with excellent guitar harmonics during the verses, but then it picks up into a heavier mood for the chorus with a very excellent guitar harmony.
However, the true highlight of the album is the last track "Decrescendo." This song is quite possibly one of the most innovative songs that the RxB have done. It lacks all forms of transitions, is genre bending, and all around absolutely phenomenal. "The Resignation" is worth getting for this song. Many of the times, the horns are just playing in a way that doesn't seem to meld at all with the guitars, but sounds great. When they throw them in with a dual guitar harmony for a bridge, it about made me wet my pants. Throw in one of the finest climaxes that the Bandits have ever done full of harmonies and the trademark Rx Bandits background screaming, and the song is pure gold.
All though much of the album is great, especially the songs listed above and the unmentioned rerecorded version of "Mastering the List", I find the slower songs a little bit boring, especially when they start to push five minutes. Also, although they seem to love filler, I don't, especially when it comes too often as it does in this album. Overall the album is as tight as the band could be, and they have definitely matured even more than "Progress."