River City Rebels - Playing To Live, Living To Pla (Cover Artwork)

River City Rebels

Playing To Live, Living To Pla (2001)


After issuing great albums by the likes of Grade and Darkest Hour, I'm kind of dissapointed that Victory would follow it up with a disc as mediocre as the new River City Rebels album. Upon the first few seconds of listening, I could understand why someone could like this; the production is powerful, the instrumentation is precise, and the choruses seem to be pretty anthemic. However, upon close inspection, this disc doesn't really hold up.

Firstly, and most importantly, the songwriting tends to be awkward. Words are often forced into the verses, and there isn't more to a lot of the choruses than your standard punk rock "whoa." The band constantly strives for an anthemic feel, but pretty much always falls just short. For instance, when I listen to the gang chorus of "6AM," I wonder why on earth I'm not singing along; I quickly realize that it's because I have no idea what the people are saying, and it wouldn't really matter anyway, because there's no real melody.

Similarly, the title could be an Ann Beretta song, but the chorus is just way too weird. The only way that it could be construed as catchy is because it's so simple, and the sentiment isn't very original or clever. Ann Beretta has a bit of a problem with making choruses out of common cliches as well, but at least they always have memorable melodies.

Playing To Live, Living To Play doesn't make me want to puke when I listen to it, but it doesn't make me want to do much else, either. When so many bands are playing this style of music so much better, you're left with no real reason to buy this disc. Pick up records by Ann Beretta, Sixer, Rancid, or even Jersey before you get this one.

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