Irony’s got such a stranglehold on popular culture these days it’s pretty much impossible to figure out if something’s cool because it actually is cool, or because it’s so-lame-it’s-cool. Rye Coalition and their career-spanning idolization of hair metal and cock rock, in the post-Darkness musical climate, is “cool” again, no matter what road you take to get there. What’s funny is that while The Darkness had their tongues’ firmly in their cheeks, RC are rocking with absurd sincerity. Every rock music vocal punctuation (yeah! hey! all right!) isn’t intended to elicit a wry smile from their audience but fist-pumping participation –the group indulges once in nostalgia with the ultimate Wayne’s World reference (“Party Time! Excellent!”) on “Tequila Mockingbird (P.T.E.).” All the requisite hard rock tropes are here: sturdy low E-string riffs, shredding solos, cowbell, harmonized guitar leads and as many references to partying and euphemisms for sex allowable on an album. It’s like someone teleported prime AC/DC to the present, tempered their blues tendencies a bit and let Dave Grohl record them. It’s irony-free and “cool” is an understatement.
Gern Blandsten Records: www.gernblandstenrecords.com