Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Rejectionist Front - Evolve (2017)
Written by Michael Saulman, posted by blog admin
Rejectionist Front’s successful run has thus far seen the New York City based quartet place their music with both television and film productions, share bills with iconic artists like George Clinton and Joan Baez (among others), release a critically acclaimed and popular first album, and appear on important indie collections alongside other immensely respected artists like Patti Smith, MGMT, Third Eye Blind, and Jackson Browne. They’ve brought their music to respected NYC area venues like CBGB, the Highline Ballroom, and Webster Hall They’ve worked with important production figures like Grammy winner Andy Wallace, a pivotal player on recordings from artists as diverse as Bruce Springsteen and System of a Down. All of these turning points in the band’s career lead to its next logical step, the all-important second studio album, and the twelve song collection Evolve finds Rejectionist Front ascending to a new level.
Lead singer and songwriting force Michael Perlman’s musical art brings every bit of the same passion to bear that color his involvement with activist causes like Rock to Save Darfur, but there’s no soapbox raving on Evolve. The first song “Ride” is a fantastic opener revealing a specific side of the band while introducing some themes that remain album constants. The band’s songwriting embraces dynamics, like any aspiring great rock band will, and they show impressive timing in when and how they bring those moments off. Perlman has an excellent musical foil in guitarist Lincoln Prout – the six string player serves as the band’s sole guitarist, yet conjures a variety of sounds that are often the equivalent of a small guitar army. “Savior” is one of the album’s best pure hard rock tracks and illustrates some of the band’s primary strengths – they are able to marry especially effective hard rock guitar songs with memorable choruses, a generous but understated amount of melody, and a multi-faceted approach to vocals.
“All Is The Same” is a moment when that aforementioned strength reaches an inarguable peak. The meditative side of the band’s lyricism emerges vividly from these words and the musical accompaniment. Prout’s talent for bringing evocative, forceful melodies together with blazing lead work and straight forward riffing makes him a guitarist of rare distinction in the modern rock arena and bassist Tony Tino and drummer Dave Dawson are an effective rhythm section, yet versatile as well. “Sign” has a direct, highly charged riff propelling it much of the way and a real swagger that comes at listeners from the first. There’s no preamble here, no beating around the bush – Rejectionist Front wants to rock and does so convincingly in a familiar hard rock vein. The band returns to a more deliberative, nuanced musical attack with the track “Reclaim” and it shares many of the same exhortative elements that made the opener “Ride” so memorable.
“Innocent” brings together the artier aspects of the band’s musical presentation, particularly through Lincoln Prout’s often intense and even dissonant guitar work, with their talent for impactful and accessible commercial strengths like a good chorus. It’s one of Evolve’s standout efforts. “Flush” is the album’s briefest song and a perfect choice for single status thanks to its clearly commercial inclinations, yet it never unduly waters down the band’s hard rock approach. Rejectionist Front’s second studio release is a confirmation and elaboration of everything we heard with their debut and secures their status as one of the best hard rock acts maturing today.
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