Nuclear Rodeo’s Revenge

December 23rd, 2010 · No Comments

It’s been a little over a year since Nuclear Rodeo released their last record, Something Bad’s Happening (reviewed in the November/December 2009 issue of the Progressive), and now they’ve returned with the follow-up, Revenge.  There aren’t a lot of surprises to be had here, but that’s not meant in a negative way. Nuclear Rodeo are a power-pop band, and this is what is in their DNA, and pop bands write melodic songs. Revenge is a collection of seven great power-pop songs in the vein of bands like Weezer, The Lemonheads, and Fountains of Wayne, dripping with melody, tight with rhythms to get your dancing legs shaking, and a wry wit to make you grin.

Opening song “Capitalist Man” gets the party going with some feedback and laughter that resolves into a pumping bass line, and sets the mood – it’s going to be fun, it’s going to be loose, and remember that you can never, ever underestimate the power of a good chorus. It’s a tale of a guy striking oil and hitting it rich, a la The Beverly Hillbillies, and then enjoying the double-edged wonders of consumerism.

Singer Campbell DeSousa does a great job of jumping back and forth from crooning and narrating to busting out in falsetto that really adds dynamics to the songs. This helps deliver the detailed, slice-of-life lyrics.  Some of my favorites are about doing things like going to the grocery store, or about the people in the neighborhood, and there’s kind of a theme of failed relationships and unrequited love. You get longing in a lyric like “She’s so much cooler than me/Something in her upbringing I know,” that lists all the things the ultimate unattainable cool chick does and has.  Or you get the vaguely obsessive sentiment of “I’ve got too much time on my hands/So I’m gonna make you mine.”  Or the story of how the narrator lost his lucky softball; this is a clever plot device that allows for the story of how he got the softball, and wondering what to do now.  All to a country beat.  Nice.

My absolute favorite lyric, though, is “It was worse than the dream where you were naked and clutching a hammer in your left hand.”

The title track is bass-line driven, beginning with a melody similar to Nirvana’s “Love Buzz” before becoming a pop song about revenge. It has a great bridge that shows off the band’s songwriting chops (with some subtle use of saxophone thrown in as well).

Nuclear Rodeo’s world is one where lots of bad things can happen, and about everything in life is impermanent at best, if not outright hostile.  But you can point out the absurdities, laugh at yourself, have a good time, and move on, because there’s another great chorus just around the corner.

Related articles
Music Review: Nuclear Rodeo – Something Bad’s Happening
Phil Young’s Last Stand at the Bali Satay House

Tags: 2010 · AP Issues · December 2010 · Reviews

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