Rx Bandits

Rx Bandits

Progress

Drive-Thru

If there’s been a more aptly-named album this year than the newest from Rx Bandits, I haven’t heard it. Progress is an absolutely stunning leap forward for this band. While past efforts have been solid and likeable, they’ve frankly also been a little pedestrian — almost ska-punk by the numbers. Don’t misunderstand, they were very good at what they were doing, they just weren’t doing anything that a hundred other bands weren’t doing. All that changes on Progress, a sophisticated blend of ska, punk, hardcore, reggae, indie rock, and other influences. Likewise, the band’s grown up lyrically, moving from fairly standard songs about girls to lyrics about social change, racism, and apathy. And they’re not playing at this, either — never do the band’s lofty ambitions outreach their grasp, and there’s nothing clumsy about this record, not one element sounds out of place or poorly defined. Standout tracks include the ’80s rock-influenced “Get,” the über-catchy “Analog Boy,” the socially conscious reggae of “In All Rwanda’s Glory” and “Babylon,” the angular, screamy, yet melodic hardcore of “VCG III,” and the percolating ska-punk of “Consequential Apathy,” but really, trying to sum this record up by picking out a few tracks is doing it a disservice — it deserves to be heard as a whole, and every part of it is both interesting and jaw-droppingly good. Listening to this record is like waking up to find your five-year-old has turned 21 literally overnight. Rx Bandits have gone from being a band that I could honestly take or leave to putting out what is easily one of the best albums of the year. I can hardly wait to see what they do next!

Drive-Thru Records, PO Box 55234, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413; http://www.drivethrurecords.com, http://www.rxbandits.com

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