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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Rye Coalition
Gern Blandsten

Rating: 6/10 ?

July 12, 2006
Rye Coalition has always been a band of tongue in cheek stature and deep grunge/indie rock tones. The group formed in the mid-1990s and since that time has had a sporadic release timeline; two full length albums in the late '90s (the early yet remarkable Hee Saw Dhuh Kaet and their cornerstone piece Lipstick Game), one in 2002 with the over-cheesed Camaro rocker On Top, and most recently in 2006 (that's this year, folks) with Curses.

In the past the band has rubbed musical shoulders with hard-hitting groups like Shiner, Helmet, Shellac, and early Queens of The Stone Age, the latter of which is, in hindsight, somewhat funny considering that the producer of Curses is none other than recent QOTSA collaborator Dave Grohl. The Foo Fighters main man performs percussion, guitar, and vocals with Rye Coalition this time around and you can see the drawn-out effects.

Curses is a more mainstream approach by a band who gets more mainstream with every album. The song titles give hints to what kind of prose jokey attitude lies inside: "Pussyfootin'," "Tequila Mockingbird (P.T.E.)," "Between an I-Roc and a Hard Place," "Vietnam Veterinarian," "Cocaine Werewolf," (had to be taken from a Conan O'Brien sketch), and "Achilles' Wheelchair."

"Pussyfootin'" sounds like a more edgy version of that one annoying Jet song (I think it's called "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"). In "Clutch the Pearls" they actually sing, "Hey, she's my lover" and do a faux-joke-metal guitar solo ending. The rest of the album has a similar feel to newer Helmet material - less edginess and more cleanly polished pop flavor than we would all hope for. "Cigarette Catastrophe" sounds like it was taken straight from QOTSA's Songs For the Deaf, no joke.

Curses is hard fought but it also gives the indication that there was a push/pull effort in its creative direction. We've certain heard better from Rye Coalition (at this point it actually seems to get worse with every release) and this album seems too far removed from what they've done in the past to be a genuine effort. Cash grab? Perhaps. Phoning it in? Maybe. Or maybe it's their attempt to open up to a new crowd - but whatever it is it's better left as an experiment.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger



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