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River City Rebels - Keepsake of Luck (Cover Artwork)

River City Rebels

River City Rebels: Keepsake of LuckKeepsake of Luck (2007)
Silver Sprocket

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: GlassPipeMurderGlassPipeMurder
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In Meredith Willson's classic musical theater production "The Music Man," the eager kids of River City are nearly left with nothing but empty promises after being conned into thinking they were getting the spotlight as part of the freshly-formed town band. Amazingly, they are able to piece together .
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In Meredith Willson's classic musical theater production "The Music Man," the eager kids of River City are nearly left with nothing but empty promises after being conned into thinking they were getting the spotlight as part of the freshly-formed town band. Amazingly, they are able to piece together an ensemble and deliver a miraculous performance despite their misfortunes and inexperience. The River City Rebels faced the same storyline in early 2006, as post-Victory uncertainty landed them with Rolling Thunder Records, a partnership that fizzled by the end of that fall. However, by 2007 the Rebels had hooked up with Springman Records' new imprint Silver Sprocket, and Keepsake of Luck finally got the spotlight. And despite numerous setbacks -- members leaving, uncertain touring and literally learning new instruments on the fly -- the kids of the River City Rebels deliver a phenomenal performance on Keepsake of Luck.

Much of Keepsake can be described as a "meeting in the middle" of sorts. When the Rebels toured with the Hold Steady and the Ratchets1 in the summer of 2006, they were playing alongside modern-day incarnations of Bruce Springsteen and the Clash. Keepsake of Luck channels both, melding a warm blend of Americana folklore and rousing anthems of empowerment into a horn-spiced dance marathon. Similarly, while splitting their time between their home state of Vermont and new headquarters in Seattle, the music of Keepsake sounds straight out of the Heartland, a should-have-been soundtrack for Huck and Jim as they rafted down the Mississippi.

While the Rebels have long distinguished themselves among other punk bands for their heavy use of brass, Keepsake sees the introduction of an even wider array of instruments. The album's title track whirls off the line with a howling harmonica and hip-shaking rhythm. By mid-song, singer Dan "The Bopper" O'Day is leading the brass section through a measure of major-scale blasts, which gives way as the harmonica re-emerges, joining the upbeat for a short-round of skanking before launching back into the sing-along chorus. The jovial piano notes being tickled among the layers of horns and dancey guitars in "Icons and Rosaries" sets an ideal precedent for the instrumental breakdown that alternates between stomping percussion and intricate piano and horn work.

"I've Seen," with its breezy flickering guitar, rolling bass and more leisurely rhythm emanates an almost Motown feel as O'Day delivers one of the catchiest melodies on the record. The song trails off with two minutes of piano that should have been clipped, but "Hopeful Romantic" doesn't take nearly so long to get off the ground as The Bopper wails "I see the stars and they're burning out / Makes me wonder if I wished this thing yesterday / And if I wish this tomorrow, could it happen again?." While O'Day's stretched vocal chords mostly sounded overdramatic on the Rebels' previous effort Hate to Be Loved, The Bopper is more soulful here, and the compositions benefit a great deal. And while the Rebels venture a little too far into Pink Floyd freakout land on the second half of the eight-minute "Bright Side," the thoughtful lyrical delivery and punchy beat makes the first half exceptionally enjoyable.

Yes, it looks like the kids from River City have pulled off another upset victory with Keepsake of Luck. Somewhere between overcoming the constantly appearing obstacles and seemingly endless frustrations of departures and delays, the River City Rebels were able to pull it all together and let loose one of the best records of the year.

1 - Editor's Note: The River City Rebels toured with the Ratchets who went on to tour with the Hold Steady, the Rebels did not tour with the Hold Steady..

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
NotPatriotic (September 26, 2007)

Posted by freal on 2007-09-26 16:41:45
My Score:

I really don't understand why there is all of this stuff being written about the band's personal life....

I understand what you are saying but I would rather support a quality bunch of guys than a bunch of rockstar wannabes. They went on a tour sponsored by camel cigarettes!!!

NotPatriotic (September 26, 2007)

I have met the lead singer Mr. bop about three or four times, and he is not a cool guy. I have watched this band give no explanation for not showing up to shows they have been schelduled for, they have that whole rockstar persona that I despise, they hit on young girls, think drinking a bottle of wine is cooler than putting on a good show, etc. There is a reason this band is hated by many people, it isn't because of the quality of their music either. The one thing I can say is that the Trombone player (I think he plays the trombone) seems like a cool guy and definitely puts the most energy out when the band plays.

freal (September 26, 2007)

I really don't understand why there is all of this stuff being written about the band's personal life. I'm here to talk about this album-so if anyone's interested in my review of it...here it is:
This album is one of the best I've ever heard in my life. It is really extraordinary to hear such eclectic work released in 2007. It appeals to a wide audience and I believe it just takes a desire to hear good music in order to enjoy it. It's extremely fun to listen to without losing it's soul and depth. The River City Rebels have finally found their niche and I strongly suggest buying it. Best part about it, you can hear the passion. That's what's missing in the world today, straight up passion.
so, I hope that was helpful to some of you, even though i didn't mention the lead singer or who he hits on.

freal (September 26, 2007)

I really don't understand why there is all of this stuff being written about the band's personal life. I'm here to talk about this album-so if anyone's interested in my review of it...here it is:
This album is one of the best I've ever heard in my life. It is really extraordinary to hear such eclectic work released in 2007. It appeals to a wide audience and I believe it just takes a desire to hear good music in order to enjoy it. It's extremely fun to listen to without losing it's soul and depth. The River City Rebels have finally found their niche and I strongly suggest buying it. Best part about it, you can hear the passion. That's what's missing in the world today, straight up passion.
so, I hope that was helpful to some of you, even though i didn't mention the lead singer or who he hits on.

DiscoFucker (September 26, 2007)

Zack Worthless?

ashtraymonument (September 26, 2007)

apparently the singer hit on my ex-girlfriend at a show in massachusetts that i wasn't at.

bop (September 26, 2007)

Do i know you MR. hot??? I didn't think so. Keep talking, it's the haters like yourself that have made us able to tour for years.
Ps. Johnny cash is great

zaaaack (September 25, 2007)

Yeah, always. Want to come to our underage gangbang?

Best record of the year.

NotPatriotic (September 25, 2007)

Lead singer is a douchebag. The other members seem relatively cool, still can't make up for being in a band with one Dan Rockstar O'Day. I used to sort of like this band in my younger/less stupid days.

ChokingVictim (September 25, 2007)

how the hell is this already out but not on the internets

discofucker (September 25, 2007)

This album is EXCEPTIONAL.

Toxic_Toast (September 25, 2007)

never expected the river city rebels to put out something this good

WarIsPeace (September 25, 2007)

I wasn't so sure about this at first, but hearing about the wide array of instruments makes me wanna pick this up.

Matthew330 (September 25, 2007)

Wouldn't you?

Torgo (September 25, 2007)

Does the singer still try and bang 15 year olds?

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