I’m sure I’ve made this point before, but Rx Bandits’ The Resignation is my favorite album of all time. It’s an unbelievable showcase of the band’s once-hidden musical capabilities. Originally, they were just some ska-punk band to me; there were only a few tracks off of Halfway Between Here & There and Progress that stuck and impressed me. The Resignation changed everything. The band dropped the poppy get-up and evolved into a surprisingly powerful musical force. When tracks off of earlier records may only have consisted of a few power chords, every song off of The Resignation offered something unique and refreshing. The Bandits brought together punk, ska, reggae, and added their own special touch to bring to us a new experimental style of music of which I (at least) have never seen the likes of before.
Now for three years I’ve had to sit impatiently and wait for the follow-up their 2003 masterpiece. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would they blow my mind with something completely different, or would they elaborate on the sound that they establish on The Resignation? After listening to the album, I suppose I could say yes and no to both questions. But let me begin by saying, …And the Battle Begun is nothing short of amazing. Once again the band has impressed me with an album that I will be listening to over and over again for the next couple of weeks.
I wouldn’t say this album is as aggressive as The Resignation. Rather, Battle reveals a more soulful side of the band with cleaner guitars, heavier use of both horns and keyboards, and more passionate vocals. It isn’t a movement towards a somewhat reggae sound, but it’s more of a sign that the band has more of a grasp on what they’re writing. And this definetly shows live; the RX Bandits have become masters of improvisation and put on a unique performance for every show. I’m always impressed by how the band blends every song together with a little jam, giving the show a constant flow (As a side note, I highly suggest going to this show if it comes by your town. Men Women & Children are touring with them, and they’re one of the most fun bands I’ve seen live.) But back to the album! I feel that this is a logical step for the group to move in. I don’t recommend going into this album and expecting a sequel to The Resignation. That album marked an evolution for the band. From now on, I don’t think we can hold expectations for new material other than it will be nothing but impressive.
So enough talk, here are some of my favorite tracks from …And the Battle Begun…