Rebel Rebel - France Comes Alive

Having never heard of "Rebel Rebel" before this CD dropped through my letterbox, the first listen of this, their 4th Album and 1st live album left me a tad confused. A Californian band? recording a live album in France? This didn't quite stack up, and then I read the accompanying blurb, and saw that in the US they have been banned from most venues, due to their show.

So, the dedication of "Rebel Rebel" to still be playing this type of "shock rock" music 16 years into their career (they formed in CA in 1990) and still sound as loose as this, is as much to the bands credit, as it is to their unfortunate detriment.

The opening barrage of "Reincarnation" and "Body Parts" does sound in places like they are making it up as they go along musically, whilst singer "Jet" admirably manages to sing most of the opening track in French (sounding not unlike Bernie from French punk/metallers "Trust").

Having been a massive fan of both "The Plasmatics" and "Sigue Sigue Sputnik", and then to see a band proudly waving the shock rock banner makes me want to love this album, but I just can't.

Tracks like "Venus Plus X" and "#1 With A Bullet" storm along on a bass and drum riff that would have Lemmy cacking in his white cowboy boots, but I simply don't go away remembering the songs like I have with recent albums by the likes of "Chrome Division" or "Wednesday 13", and really that is the level of ask from "Rebel Rebel" playing in this genre of music.

If Rebel Rebel do want to be the future (As the track "We Are the Future" so proudly proclaims) they must have the dynamic of say "Warrior Soul" yet retain the shock and awe of the aforementioned "Plasmatics". But more importantly they must have songs you can hum after a few listens, I mean even "Butcher Baby" has a hum able tune to it.

Moving to the last 6 tracks of this live album you will find that not unlike "Kiss Alive 2" it also contains some studio material. However, unlike "Alive 2" 4 of these 6 tracks are ads for other bands or hair/studio products, which in itself makes this even more of a strange listen. The other 2 studio tracks on offer "Harness All The Energy" and "Rocket Into Flames" is where I actually got annoyed. As these are both, well played and written glam stompers. With the latter track slightly edging it for me, in an infectious "Kiss" meets "Trust" type of way. If only the first part of this album had been as good as these two tracks.

So, this is a slightly disappointing and somewhat frustrating listen. But full credit to a band living out their dreams and releasing independent music that matters to them.

2/5 for the live tracks; 4/5 for the studio tracks.

by Johnny H.

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