RX Bandit’s 2006 …And The Battle Begun is a desert islander for me. Easily. It didn’t always start out that way, though.
Growing up as a band geek among other band geeks, we all flirted with Ska at one time or another. When everyone in your friend group plays trombone, trumpet, drums, guitar, bass, sax, or some other noisemaker, it’s hard not to. Bands that we kicked around included Reel Big Fish, No Doubt, Streetlight Manifesto, Less Than Jake, Goldfinger, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Specials, and others. You know, the good stuff. Stuff to which you could play Tony Hawk.
RX Bandits are distinct from those listed. They’re a smarter band, I’d say. The albums “…And The Battle Begun and “The Resignation” have overtly left-leaning politics, for what it’s worth. The rhythms are sharp. The riffs aren’t always even. This isn’t easy-listening, fun, party-time 4/4 Ska. This is rock ‘n’ roll made by people with brains, and it feels like it.
“Epoxi-lips” punishes, while “In Her Drawer” is a fantastic horn-filled pill-rock serenade. “To Our Unborn Daughters” is pretty much exactly what you think it is, which is to say, excellent. “One Million Miles An Hour, Fast Asleep” is a lesson in fretboard finesse.
I took a while to get into this one. A few years, probably. I remember hearing and loving “The Resignation” years before I listened to this record with any seriousness. That’s probably for the best: “The Resignation” isn’t as demanding. I probably wasn’t ready to hear this the first time around, anyway. If you can handle hard rock, horns, genre-bending reggae licks, with meditations on age and feminism, then this just might be your record.
Sounds like: “A blue square to numb the pain / white hexagons to accelerate / swallow yellow to relax / whiskey and a green one to forget the past”
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