As I glanced over the transparent red vinyl that contained the self titled album from rock band Red Hot Rebellion, I couldn’t help but smile. The phrase, “The Soundtrack To A Bar Fight” is scrawled on the inside label like a mission statement for the entire collection of songs. Couple that with the comic book that came with the record, which at one point reads, “Drink, Fuck, Fight, It’s Gonna Be A Riot,” and you know one thing prior to even putting the needle to the vinyl: This is gonna be fun.
And that “fun” quality to Red Hot Rebellion’s music is certainly needed. Because despite the fact that nothing too groundbreaking occurs, I still couldn’t help myself from singing along on my third or fourth listen. And for a band that really exemplifies the old school rock and roll spirit, someone singing along to their music should come as the highest compliment.
The band kicks off their self-titled effort with “Wait and See,” which truly sets the tone early. Along with establishing the basic rock band setup (drum, two guitars, vocals), the track also sets a lyrical tone of pure anger, as Jim Tramontana sings “My fucking job, its got me by the balls.” The chorus tells his superiors to “Just wait and see” as the character in the song knows he’s destined for something bigger than where he currently sits at in life.
“For The Benefit Of Evil” continues the gloomy tone, as they sing “It’s better to die behind a guitar than die behind a gun.” Mentions of the devil and “evil feelings” continue to establish this theme of good against evil, or in this case, these rockers against the constraints of society.
“Open Wide and Say Awesome” contains some of the best guitar work on the album and a chorus that demands to be heard at a concert as it contains the “Drink, Fuck, Fight” gang vocals I referenced in the comic. The rest of the lyrical work is again as dark as can be, with mentions of burning objects down and just fire in general. You almost wish the guys would have thrown a lighter song into the bunch, but you have to commend them for sticking to the tone throughout.
“Wild One” is the standout track on the album, though. As I listened to the guitars and general melody of the song, I could really see the track coming through my speakers on the local rock-radio station. By just increasing the tempo by a little bit and with a little more production value, the track could have massive potential for the independent band. And on vinyl, you can really hear the power behind the chorus. It was the first time on the album that I could hear the improved sound quality.
As described before, the package for the record is an interesting one, with a comic book doubling as the partial lyric sheet for the album. As you flip through the pages, you can see exactly what kind of story the guys were going for when working on the lyrics for the record. And you can also see exactly what kind of aspirations the guys have. Whether it’s playing at a club named after them or the moment when they get on stage and look out at the sold out crowd, these guys obviously have big dreams. And if they continue on this path, they just might be able to reach them.