Maximum RNR - Maximum RNR (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Maximum RNR

Maximum RNR (2004)


I'm sure in some past lapse into irrationality I've expressed the opinion that I hate Maximum RNR.

It's really not their fault either; they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. A few years back I was headed to Toronto to catch a show on the New Bomb Turks' purported "farewell tour" and just about everything went wrong that could. My ticket hook-up flaked out on me, it was pouring rain and the traffic on the 401 was remarkably unkind; the girlfriend was feeling sick and the friend who had tagged along was more there for the road trip than the music. I must have walked into The Horseshoe, dripping wet from the storm, right as "local openers" were playing. The band was an unkempt five-piece of capital R rockers who at that very moment were putting on some sort of act where each member soloed while the others froze in place. They had the whole outfit too: denim, shades, old band shirts, long messy hair. "Ridiculous. Fuck this band. Fuck this whole botched trip."

My first encounter with Maximum RNR obviously wasn't very kind and I'm sure I let that that whole horrible day warp my opinion for far too long. That must be the case, as years later I stumbled upon their single "Switchblade" and it just blows me away. Here's a tight, high-octane punk rock'n'roll band that's quite simply kicking my ass.

So what's going on here?

It's hard for me to say for sure, at least without revealing how far my head's been stuck up my ass, but the band's self-titled EP is a blazing six song collection that maintains an incredible level of energy throughout. "Stormfront" is a perfect opening track and establishes a breakneck pace that runs throughout the record. Not everything relies on testosterone here, and infectious songs like "Lucky Charm" prove the band has more than a few killer hooks up their collective sleeves. It also helps to have Ian Blurton (Change Of Heart, Blurtonia, Bionic) behind the boards, for there's nobody who understands the potential of the bearded, denim-clad rocker quite like a bearded, denim-clad rocker (he also produced the last two Weakerthans records, but that really doesn't fit my example). If you're into bands along the lines of Zeke, Motorhead, the New Bomb Turks, or a good chunk of the Gearhead Records alumni, this is most definitely for you.

It seems funny to me that since that first show I've run into members of this band more than a few times in various situations and I've had some time to chat with both guitarists Keith Carman and Keith Maurik. These are guys who have an amazing love for rock'n'roll and it comes though when you talk to them just as much as it does on record. Maximum RNR's debut EP is a frenzied, bullshit-free collection of full throttle hard rock and is most definitely worth checking out.