River City Rebels - Racism, Religion, and War (Cover Artwork)

River City Rebels

Racism, Religion, and War (2000)


Now let me tell you right now, I am a huge fan of the River City Rebels. Huge. However, I'm aware of the love/hate feelings toward the band. Either people hate them, or love them. There's generally no middle ground when it comes to the Rebels. BUT, I feel this release can turn just about every hater into a fan.

This release can be defined in one easy word: Perfect. This record is nothing short of that. Each track is catchier than the last. The Rebels do the sing-along style chorus' like no other band is capable of. The horn lines are simply amazing. Yes, that's right horn lines....

That calls for some background info. RCR are a punk band from Vermont. They have a horn section, which on this release consisted of both a trumpet and a trombone. Despite this, the band is far from a ska band. Influences include U.S. Bombs, The Clash, Bruce Springsteen and Stiff Little Fingers. Nothing ska about them. Street punk with horns.

Back to the album. "Racism, Religion, and War..." kicks off with the stand out track "Hate". This is probably The Rebels' most well known and successful song. Listening to this track can pretty much sum up the 13 to follow. Fun, fast, incredibly catchy music.

Towards the middle of the CD, comes "Military Attitude" and "That's the Way it's Gotta Be", two staples in RCR's live catalog. Both are exactly what I've been saying about the rest of the album...You'll be singing along by the end of the track, trying to contain yourself from dancing along in your bedroom.

My personal favorite, "Fuck You", comes towards the end of the CD. This song is where you begin to notice the simplicity of RCR's music and lyrics. This is a complain complaint from me towards many, many bands, but RCR manages to get away with it. The music and lyrics are both so simple yet the Rebels do it in such a way that you either don't notice or don't care.

I once met a kid at an Anti-Flag show. He told me he thought that the River City Rebels were the perfect band for any punk. He said they combined "the nihilism of The Sex Pistols, the political ideals of The Clash, and the catchiness of The Ramones." That kid couldn't have been more right. RCR is a band that too many people are sleeping on. Check out these CD and give these guys the credit and support they deserve.