ndie-Pop, Lo-Fi, Nu-Metal, Post-Punk, New Wave, Prog-Rock, blah, blah, blah. With a slew of other genres with definitions that no one can ever seem to agree on, I find myself asking one question…
What ever happened to good old-fashioned, Rock and Roll? You know, the ,“It’s only Rock-N-Roll but I like it” variety.
Apparently, I am not the only one that feels this way. With their new full-length CD “Pass The Lies”, following up their year-old EP release “Wood and Wire”, Minneapolis band The Rakes has concocted a collection of songs that manages to capture the raw essence of rock and roll.
The Rakes are made up of Aaron Pruitt (singer/songwriter/guitars), Steve Dupuis (guitar), Jon Sawyer (bass), and Brian Mondl (drums). Recorded and produced by local producer extraordinaire Mike Wisti at his Albatross studios, “Pass The Lies” is an instantly classic sounding rock album that is chock full of dirty, boozy guitars and earnest but often-pointed lyrics. This is a record that deals with one of the great staples of rock music writing… love, relationships, and ultimately betrayal. When Aaron, with his slurred, angst ridden vocal styling sings from the title track, “When you pass the lies, I’ll take my share / Is it your turn now to swallow them whole…”, the despair and indignation effuses like another shot of whiskey; down the hatch.
Stylistically, this album reminds me of Tom Petty when he still had a little punk, and The Replacements long before they sobered up, but right around the time when they stopped breaking shit. To me, songs like “The New Clown in Town” and “If Anybody Knows” instantly suggest “Refuge” and “Even The Losers” from Petty’s 1979 release “Damn the Torpedoes”. However, songs like “Eyes Empty” and “The Most Right” shine with the same drunken energy that made The Replacements “Tim” such a memorable record. “Freight Train” and “Whiskey Porch” capture the ‘Mats slightly more mature side as displayed on their ’87 release “Pleased to Meet Me”. The Rakes cite other Minneapolis rock gods, Hüsker Dü, along with other notables like Cheap Trick, Big Star and Elvis Costello as influences, and elements of each can be heard throughout.
The beautiful thing about good rock music is its accessibility. A well-done rock and roll song tells a story that most people will instantly relate with. Unless you’ve been living a solitary life tucked away in a cave deep in the heart of Siberia, or your only 4 years old, I’ll venture to say that you too have felt the poisoned pangs of having your heart broken. Pruitt and company can share your pain, and with this new record it’s almost as if they are saying, “Go ahead, pull up a seat. Here, have a drink and tell me all about it”.
“Pass The Lies” by The Rakes is being released on September 10, by Veto Records. Look for it locally at Cheapo Records or online at www.therakes.com. The Rakes will be performing their CD Release show on September 6 at The Turf Club in St. Paul, and will be touring throughout the Midwest during the fall and winter in support of “Pass The Lies”.