REVOLUSH – Crystal Method Actors
(2004-05 Caterwaulatusi Music)
It’s hard to tell exactly what Milwaukee’s Revolush mean when they describe their music on the MySpace page as sounding like “God yawning.” Is He bored? Doubtful. Crystal Method Actors covers a (okay, admittedly not that wide) range of styles from power-pop to roots-rock. Sure, these are roads already well traveled by enough Midwest bands to be four-lane highways between Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago, but they still bring enough noise to keep us interested. So is He tired? Perhaps. Revolush sounds like an especially ambitious bar band that keeps you out right ‘till bar time and then manages to convince you that more shots really are a good idea no matter what time you have to work in the morning.
The CD opener “Hoot 1000” begins with a rolling drum part that seems headed for “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” territory before pulling up and turning into a head-bobbing rocker. “It’s not you, it’s me,” the immortal brush-off, break-up line, anchors the catchy “Lover’s Leap,” though in this case she may well be right. The lycanthropic admission “I’m not what I appear to be / The moon is full / The stars aren’t right / I need to be alone tonight” seems a pretty good reason to get the hell out before she’s howling at the night sky. They bring more cowbell on the CD-closing, Rousers-worthy rocker “I Never Got Used To It,” a call-and- response tune with plenty of is-it-clever-or-is-it-stupid lines like, “I wonder why she called me a hack / So I called her a cab,” and “She went out on strike / While I picked on a scab.” Though the winner may be this gem: “The best line used to be cocaine / Now it’s credit but it’s really the same” from “Unmoved, Unloved, Unmanned.”
Guitarist Bill Reuter is the source of the witty lyrics as well as the music, but they are realized by Tommy Hahn’s powerful, always-on-the-verge-of -a-scream vocals. Amazingly enough for a rock band, you can actually understand every word, which certainly helps when trying to follow the lyrics in the CD liner. Presented without any punctuation, like a Shakespeare play, they don’t quite make sense until you hear them out loud. While I’m certainly not saying they are Shakespeare, most of the songs reflect above-average intelligence even as the melodies remain completely accessible. They aren’t re-inventing the wheel, but Revolush are that band you are delighted to stumble across while looking for a Leinenkugel’s at Summerfest. You stay because, in an increasingly overwhelming sea of cover bands, any original music is a find. Oh, and for the Leinie’s, of course.