Bandits – Progress
All The Time
In All Rwanda’s Glory
Who Would’ve Thought
Anyone But You
Progress is like the UN of modern music.
It encompasses so many things that it is impossible to get bored while
listening to it. Explores many genre’s of music ranging from Ska to punk,
Reggae, pop and modern rock just to name to a few. VDG III is a nice poppy
modern rocker that is an easy radio hit. Consequential Apathy combines
ska with punk. The rest of the songs explore multiple music landscapes
including reggae meets punk on a track like “Get” but then goes a totally
different direction with other tracks that embraces modern-pop-rock or
If you are expecting an extension of their
debut, you will get that and so much more. The band picked the perfect
name for this CD, "Progress" is what that band has found this time around.
They have progressed by leaps and bounds, really coming into their own,
bypassing the dreaded sophomore curse and proving to the world that they
have what it take and are only getting better as they go along.
Overall, a nice eclectic collection of
songs from a band that refuses to be pigeon holed. If you have a lust for
some Warped Tour worthy music then damn it, progress over to your nearest
record store and pick up this CD!
There are bands that merely “grow,” and
then there are bands that truly evolve. There are bands that find a sound
that works and stick to it like it’s their religion, and then there are
bands that only use that sound as a foundation, a launching pad into greater
With a title like Progress, there is little
doubt about which type of Band Rx Bandits aspire to be on their third album
for DriveThru Records.
What’s more, they live up to those aspirations
quite convincingly. Listing the individual elements that make up Progress
would be futile, as it’s their composite effect that makes this a stunning
leap forward. “We go from reggae to punk to hardcore. We’re
not lost or confused. We’re doing it on purpose,” trombone player
Rich Balling says. “At first, people might hear the album and say that
we’re not focused because there are so many styles on it. But that’s
the opposite of what we’re doing. Our focus is all the styles.”
Five years ago, these Rx Bandits were kids
in the same familiar Orange County ska-punk scene that spawned superstars
like No Doubt, Sublime, And Reel Big Fish. In those days, the band consisted
of singer/guitarist Matt Embree, drummer Chris Tsagakis, and a couple other
friends from the Seal Beach area.
A year later, Rich contacted the Bandits
purely out of curiosity after reading a show review in local zine Scratch,
and soon found himself part of the band. By the time the newest member,
bassist James Salamone, entered the fold, the band had already established
itself as one of the area’s top draws. With a reputation for routinely
selling out shows (and, in fact, consistently breaking their own attendance
record at Anaheim’s Chain Reaction), Rx Bandits took a place in the national
spotlight touring with Bloodhound Gang, New Found Glory, and others.
But that was then, and this is now. Progress
is the band’s most sonically dense, musically complex, and lyrically insightful
work to date. It’s the sound of a band coming into its own with clear vision
and purpose. “Our first album was mostly peppy ska tunes about soccer girls.
The second album was called Halfway Between Here And There. It brought
in some newelements like reggae. That was the stepping stone,” explains
Rich of the band’s maturation. “Now this album’s totally different.”
“I want people to say that this is a new
standard for a band that has horns,” he continues. As lyricist and chief
songwriter, Matt is largely the one responsible for propelling the band
to that new standard. He’s cognizant of the band’s past, but wasn’t about
to let that hold him back. “ I wrote these songs without worrying about
what style of music they were,” says Matt. “But keeping in mind the whole
band, and making sure not to go too far out.”
Progress not only reflects eclectic musical
tastes, but reveals the budding social consciousness of a band that’s fed
up with a culture of apathy and thoughtlessness. “A lot of my personal
idiosyncrasies came out in the lyrics,” Matt surmises. “The songs are about
rebellion. But it’s not rebellion in a punk way, it’s rebellion in an intelligent
way.” “Analog Boy” anchors the album’s theme, railing against those who
try to escape through drugs or the pacifying images on TV rather than simply
facing and overcoming their problems.
“People are always looking to a pill to
solve their problems. It’s like, you can’t sleep, take a pill. You can’t
get a boner, take a pill. You can’t eat, take a pill. You’re feeling depressed,
take a pill.
It’s not even about resolving your problems
anymore, it’s all about the easy way out,” says the impassioned vocalist.
“I’m singing against it, because human beings are strong. You’ve got everything
right where you are, you just need to work it out yourself.”
Whether dealing with issues like this,
or confronting racism in the reggae tune “In All Rwanda’s Glory,” Rx Bandits
are careful not to let the heady subject matter interfere with the songs.
“I’m not about making people believe what
I believe,” says Matt. “But hopefully people will like the songs enough
that they’ll want to know the words and they’ll want to sing along. Then
they’ll hear the lyrics and they’ll understand them.”
“We’re not throwing a message in their
face,” echoes Rich. “But I can’t deny the influence and the impact music
and musicians have on kids. Just look at the way it changes trends in clothing.
Everybody in high school dresses according to what they listen to. That’s
how it is. It obviously has an impact. We just hope our impact is a positive
to samples and Purchase online
the Official Website for all kinds of stuff
Pictures and album art "borrowed"
from the RX Bandits and Drive-Thru Records. antiGUY is the editor in doubt