The Riot Before - Rebellion [12 inch] (Cover Artwork)

The Riot Before

Rebellion [12 inch] (2010)

Paper + Plastick

Several months ago, three-fourths of the dudes that make up the Riot Before had dinner at my apartment and played a preview of their unmixed upcoming album, which they were recording with music god J Robbins. I was a huge fan of their output up to that point, and figured the dudes responsible for "We Are Wild Stallions" and "Take That, the Government!" would be chill.

I was drunk off my face when they played it for me, and I loved it. Nothing has changed now that the official album, called Rebellion, has seen official light of day. You know how some bands are better when you're high? Riot Before are a good band that becomes great when you're drunk to hell and have your arm around your best friends. It's heartfelt in a way that word usually doesn't imply. It's not embarrassing; it's life-affirming.

It's not as folky as their former releases, but I think that makes it even stronger. (Never thought I'd say that about a band from Richmond.) The drums are more chugga chugga than before, like the old rhythms from Johnny Cash's songs about trains. The guitars ring out and punch you in the heart. Brett sings like his soul is on the line, and it comes across as amazingly sincere.

What I like about this record the most is how the hooks emerge upon repeated listens and how much it grows on you. It blossoms from something that sounds vaguely Orgcore into a moving push-and-pull record of tension release. When it gets quiet, you know it's just moments away from exploding into something that will make you pump your fist and flail around whatever room you're in.

Really, my only complaint is that they put a song after shoulda-been closer "Tinnitus," but then again, the Smiths put a song about fat girls after "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out," so what do I know?