Bands can reflect the music they want to make and as Rick Rude show, it can be interesting to decipher the line between a voice and servicing songs. However there’s such a rotation of genres going on in this latest Rick Rude release that it can feel like you’re hitting shuffle on an iPod, and even hearing other bands’ ideas. This disconnection hurts what is otherwise a strong album, but is ultimately more of a collection than a true LP.
Rick Rude have a way of exploring tones on this album that is just as hypnotizing as the overall writing that surrounds these notes. In a track like “Dollyhook” for example a simple bass hook’s slow filter changes deliver the same emotive weight as any complex performance might bring. This infects the composition in a way as well, as each instrument evolves to becomes something new. “Dough Nation” on the other hand brings out a rush of punk fury, screaming its way through with a little hidden bit of sonic warping. The grooves take over “Slow Cooker” however for a vocally soaring punk-folk track that has an exciting clash of angular tones and warm vocals. This goes equally for the singing which takes this welcoming delivery and shows off a since of discontent so loud that you’ll wonder how someone can be so brutally honest.
There’s a density however to “Surrounds” that’s rarely elsewhere on the record, and soon sees Rick Rude moving a grunge track to something more cerebral. Their intense sonic exploration hits in fiery waves and lets each verse feel more impactful in its storytelling. While “Verb For Dreaming” itself feels like Green Day b-side with better guitar riffing, it’s hard to feel like it’s not a little late to the party. “Drumpf” slowly transforms in its sad storytelling to a track that is brimming with anger, and constantly shifting gears to make this emotion clear. With this kind of weight in their music, it’s strange hear them taking such barebones routes in other tracks.
Even the tone of the guitars feels fleshed out on “All Lock” where an Offspring-like thrust of guitar is matched by the vicious vocals. Luckily the grooves stand a little more pointed here to make sure it feels like homage rather than a full pastiche. “Mason” itself blurs the line of classic rock influence with a grimy punk energy, as it descends from a heightened sense of fantasy into a loud and shrieking ballad. Unfortunately, “Jupiter” sinks into a more predictable thrashing direction, without a sonic update to back it up as something fresh. It’s worth mentioning however that Rick Rude go so ballistic on this track that it begs to be seen live.
The sense of sadness behind “Cordon Bleu” is much more intense than other songs, and leaves you aching in the same way the members of Rick Rude are. Their chameleon-like ability shines particularly brightly here as its clear they’re focused on what’s best for a song rather than trying to rely on a sound to carry them. At least the return to rock is driven a little more sonically on “Xxtra Firewater” but ultimately this back-and-forth of genre isn’t healthy for the record as a whole.
Words by Owen Maxwell