I have a problem with reviewing singles. Generally, the reason a single is chosen comes from a band or label deciding it is the most crowd-pleasing song. One that will get fans excited and bring people to the shows and buying the album. What I find more often that not is that my favorite songs on albums by my favorite artists are rarely, if ever, the singles. So for that reason, I don’t really like to review them. For example, my friends Poison Control Center put out a song a while back (a great song in fact) called “Torpedoes on Tuesday.” I didn’t review it because I didn’t feel like I could say anything about it without reviewing the whole album.
That isn’t the case with the new single from Chicago band Rabble Rabble. At least I hope not. There are things I like about the new release and things I don’t. First off, the guitars on both the A side and the B side, Long Hook, are insane. The players, Ralph Darski and Todd McCafrey display some crazy pyrotechnics that will leave you sucking air trying to catch your breath thirty seconds in.
The in-your-face attitude stays in tact for the duration of the just over seven minute release, and it’s hard to tear yourself away with the onslaught of noise stimulating your listening holes. Everyone in the band seems to be on the same page with one goal in mind: to rock your fucking socks off. To that end their goal is achieved.
At the same time, I can’t help but think the group may be trying too hard to give listeners the feel of a live show. “Why Not” is a little over 4 minutes long, which is about a minute too long. There is a perfect ending at the 2:55 mark, but the band continues the song as they might were you seeing them play live. And the same thing happens on “Long Hook.”
I totally get why a band would want to record a song this way, but I don’t agree with it. At just under three minutes you have a really good song that I could see myself listening to, and then you tack on a minute of loud fuzz guitar which adds nothing to the context of the song. Rabble Rabble is far from the only band with this problem. The Magic Numbers wouldn’t know how to end a song if someone unplugged all their instruments.
In the end I guess it comes down to whether or not you dig this kind of music. They call it psychedelic garage punk, I call it progressive rock. Punk makes me think of guys that just plug in, turn the volume to ten and play regardless of how terrible it sounds. Rabble Rabble wants it to sound good, they care at least a little bit (which is so not punk).
The live shows that Rabble Rabble put on are probably a lot of fun. As I said, these guys can seriously play. And in a setting like that, let’s say Empty Bottle this coming Monday May 23rd around 9:30 pm, I think these songs would work better than they do recorded.
I wasn’t just using that Empty Bottle show as a silly example, either. Rabble Rabble is having the official release of this new single at Empty Bottle on a free Monday. They’ll be joined by We Are Hex and The Distractions.