Twenty Twenty Twenty: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 110
Red Devil Ryders - Pour Me Another One - Just Because Records - 11 songs - LP, digital
In a time when shows were a thing people could go to, I think I probably brought more of my friends to see Red Devil Ryders than maybe any other band. Sure, that's partially because for a while they seemed to be on every show, but also they're a reliably decent and fun live band. I think this album brings that sense of fun and decency to the recorded medium. I wasn't quite sold on first listen (other than to sigh with relief that there weren't any songs like "Spicy Boys" on this one, which, sure, is a good first song of the live set, but not something I ever wanna listen to outside of that context), but a few listens in and I kinda started picking up on some themes and you know what? I think this is a really good album. It kicks off with the glammy power pop stomp of "Canadian Nights" (which I believe finds Adam Spektor and Carter Luckfield trading off verses on lead vocals and also features the excellent descriptive phrase "lookin' murdered out") and keeps up from there. Perhaps I'm reading into this too much as reviewers sometimes do (I once read that "Blood Visions" is a concept album about a murderer, which I'll believe when Jay Reatard comes back from the dead to tell me so), but this, to my ears, is an album about touring and about life in the immediate aftermath on touring, which has a poignant place in a world where no one is touring. The first two tracks definitely have a vibe of "the excitement of the tour." I wanted to hate "Mullet Song" on principle, but it's funny enough that it works. Perhaps it's really about tour-induced paranoia. "Sad Day For BBQ" is a tribute to someone named Melvin, who the album is also dedicated to, and is appropriately somber without losing the plot. Side 1 ends with "Little Green Cross," a two-part suite (Spektor's country rock is the first half, Luckfield's power pop is the second) that's probably the best song about legal weed that I've ever heard. It also ends with some backwards guitar, a nice nod to the "Crowley 666" days. Side 2 is mostly devoted to the dark aftermath of touring– "Soaked Blunt Blues" and "Wings On Monday" each find their respective protagonist feeling as though they lack purpose now that they're off the road, which they compensate for by getting trashed. I cannot quite place the multiple sources that Spektor borrowed from for the latter, though the first time I noticed it I thought, "Oh, of course it's from that record." "Bon Soirée," like a few of the other tracks that feature piano on this record, finds the Ryders sounding a bit like The Cowboys (that's the modern Indiana band, not the one Mark Eitzel was in) and also lyrically has a bit of "Hasta Mañana Monsieur" by Sparks in there. I like to think of it and its follow-up, "Fronto Leafs (While Johnny Sleeps)," as being slices of tour life recalled in the drunken haze that's sure to follow "Wings On Monday," "Bon Soirée" in particular. "Fronto Leafs" also features the fade out, semi-coherent chatter, fade back in trick from I'm pretty sure a couple Mott The Hoople songs. "Post-Tour Blues" is exactly what it sounds like, a musing on the relief of being home versus the excitement of being on the road– a real ambivalent state, it seems. I've had at least a brief conversation with Carter in the past about what the Brinsley Schwarz album "Nervous On The Road" means to him and in some ways this record has the same feeling in places. I'm always a sucker for when songs speed up "Free Bird" style and of course they got me with this one too. The album closes with "Hurricane," which is an upbeat cheery rocker to end on, but even this one seems a bit melancholy in the wake of some of the previous tracks. Maybe I've made up my own story for what this album is, but hey, it worked for me. The photo of the band on the insert is good enough that I really wanted to put it in the article this week instead of the album art, but cooler heads prevailed (and the more I look at it, the better it gets– why does Spektor have some of his previous records with him? (Ricky Hell and Queen Of Hell…never realized how much Hell is in Adam Spektor's musical life) And he's got his clarinet, which is good since a Jim Davis performance might break out at any second. Not to rant and rave at the end here about Adam in these pictures, but why is he shrouded in shadow in most of them? Is it to imply that he's the dark and mysterious one of the group?) A good record. 4/5
Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send it directly to the Observer: PO Box 770203, Lakewood, OH 44107.