Rebel Red – Sex Religion Politics
Tackling life’s three hardest topics without sounding preachy is no easy task. Attempting to do so on your first album, Sex Religion Politics, is unforgivable unless you’re a punk band. Rebel Red
is not a punk band.
Instead, these Warwick, New Yorkers nestle in between southern pop, up-tempo blues and classic rock. Basically they sound like a band you’d hear while waiting in line for meat-on-a-stick at the country fair. Despite my unashamed dislike for such pedestrian musical musings, this band’s leader and musical muse shares my hair-related nickname, so I had to give it a spin.
Opening track “Dusty Shack” sounds so much like the Sesame Street theme song I half-expected Red to sing “can you tell me how to get… how to get to Sesame Street” instead of “get on back… get on back to that Dusty Shack”. The bouncy pre-teen fun of this song really has no place on this album. This is especially noticeable when the very next song is “Body Count,” a disjointed mess of horns, guitars, bass, percussion and uncomplimentary back-up vocals.
“Let’s Go Home” is a 1940’s saloon pop song and quite entertaining, but completely unoriginal.
I remember hearing this exact song at an ice cream parlor when I was 10 years old. This time there are disposable lyrics over top of it.
Sex isn’t without its charm. Rebel Red evokes Fleetwood Mac (“Pray”), Creedence (“Lazy Rollin’ River”) and even takes on Rickie Lee Jones (“American Girl”). When “Red” isn’t hidden behind the music production and allowed to just emote, Sex’s songs take on a truthful, straightforwardness that popular musicians shy away from. It’s a thin line to walk between being truthful and sounding preachy, condescending and silly (“C’mon Suzy,” for example, sounds like someone calling a dog).
Unfortunately, Rebel Red overstayed her welcome on the other side of the line a few too many times. The result is something best left for the schmoes waiting in line for elephant ears at the county fair. – (2/10)