Rejectionist Front - Evolve (2017)

Written by William Elgin, posted by blog admin

Many music listeners are rightly alarmed by albums and bands who couple a social relevant message with their music. It drains, all too often, any semblance of artistry from the band’s work and reduces their compositions to dogmatic aural broadsides intent to demonize or decry some perceived injustice and neglects entertaining the audience. New York City’s Rejectionist Front avoids such pitfalls because they never write about current events in an obvious way and expend a tremendous amount of effort in writing songs about human issues, rather than political. Their second album Evolve features twelve songs with impeccable rock credentials, plenty of sonic bite, and attention grabbing lead vocals. Rejectionist Front may be politically engaged, but they are far from artistically inert.

“Ride” proves that from the first. Rejectionist Front never indulge themselves with anything as crass as paint by numbers anthems and this is no exception, but it does have a powerful uplift that many listeners will appreciate and feel invigorated by. The arrangement has a challenging, busy texture without ever succumbing to inaccessibility and lead vocalist Michael Perlman matches the exhortative qualities of the music and lyric quite well. The album’s second track “All I Am” implies, based on title alone, much more personal lyrical content and doesn’t disappoint, but the more notable shift comes with the song’s much leaner and even raucous musical attack. This is real raunch and roll that jettisons much of the textual attention heard in the opener in favor of a more visceral, aggressive approach shorn of even the faintest hints of self-indulgence. The band’s penchant for bringing two and three part harmonies into their vocal presentation further sets these opening cuts apart and remains a consistent strength of Evolve as a whole.

There’s a little less of that vocal wont in the song “Savior”, but Perlman’s pipes are more than capable of carrying the day for the band and his performance on this song has an equal amount of muscle and finesse. They do eventually build to a memorable musical climax on “All is The Same”, but much of the song demonstrates a more pensive, considered air than the earlier tunes and shows them as comfortable in that mold as they are with outright rockers. “Reclaim” is definitely one of Evolve’s more passionate numbers and features one of the album’s best guitar riffs while the single “Flush” shares much of the same territory with an impressively inspired tone. They offer up a creative variation on their foundational sound with the song “Resurrection” and the rhythm section really gives this penultimate number an extra charge of energy it might otherwise miss. Rejectionist Front’s second album serves up more of the qualities that attracted so much attention on their debut, but they’ve opened things up further with Evolve and sound even more bracing than before. This is top shelf hard rock for the new century with a message that never risks making you roll your eyes.