Their name isn't merely a jaded poke at the challenge of modern romance. Readymade Breakupis a knowing jab at the delicate core of every human partnership - be it romantic, business, or artistic in nature. They all boil down to relationships. And when it comes to making music, the odds of continued fidelity are tough. A traditional marriage is easy in comparison. With a band, however, you have multiple sets of egos, expectations, and mood swings. Then, of course, you have to make music. But Readymade Breakup is making good on the bonds of rock and roll matrimony. And with the release of their third LP, they deliver a striking set of expertly-crafted pop/rock nuggets that sound like the honeymoon period is only just beginning.
If LP3 is your personal introduction to the band, you arrived just in time. Turn up the volume. What you are about to enjoy is a truly great album in the classic tradition. It's not randomly-sequenced collection of songs. Rather, it is a cohesive work of audio art. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. And it's jam-packed with just about all the thrills and chills you could ask from a rock band. It glimmers and glows with anthemic choruses, stacked harmonies, delicious guitar tones, and masterful lyrics - the whole of it galvanized with inspired melodies. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, it demands repeated listens.
A great album such as this is no small feat. It represents a victory over a nearly impossible set of cosmic challenges - the first of which is putting together a great band. Readymade Breakup fits the bill.
Singer/guitarist Paul Rosevear and bassist/singer Gay Elvis have been playing together in different bands for nearly a decade. Rosevear's raspy and emotive baritone together with GE's acrobatic bass lines have always hinted at something big. But when they rounded out the lineup of RMBU with drummer Spicy O'Neil and guitarist/singer Jim Fitzgerald, the four of them unlocked a chemistry that has been knocking audiences over ever since.
Spicy's drumming - fast, loose and always in-the-pocket - is a perfect foil to GE's three-dimensional approach to low end, making them a rhythm section to be reckoned with. Whether it's the sultry, down-home groove of "There" or the rolling, percussive intro to "Waiting For You," they always come together in a stunning way.
But just about every great rock band can be identified by its lead guitarist, and Fitzgerald is exactly the type of dynamic, original and stylish player that most bands can only dream about. He doesn't crowd the band's sound. Rather, he helps define it, using an arsenal of impeccable tones to create a uniquely textured wall of sound for each song. The album abounds with gorgeous solos, shimmering atmoshperics, and an expertly-crafted crunch that pulls the listener deep into the sonic experience.
At the helm of this ship, however, you will find Rosevear delivering one commanding performance after another, covering a range of emotions, and selling each one perfectly. When he sings "we can survive this pain together" in the chorus of "Waiting For You," you feel that hope with him. When he repeatedly howls "you're not alone" during the stirring final moments of "Bravest Smile," you believe it. And on the album's most delicate track, "Not Through With You Yet," he becomes the voice of a common ambivalence about God. He quietly reflects on his confused and jaded state, before whispering the refrain, "it don't matter what I said / I'm not through with you yet." We can relate to him. Like so many of us, he leaves that door open a crack. He manages to make this sort of connection with the listener in every song.
Having honed his songcraft over several years and several bands, Rosevear stunned audiences earlier this year with the release of his debut solo EP Broken Nosed Poetry. This five-song gem featured his strongest material to date - an affecting acoustic collection of sepia-toned portraits, capturing the feel of longing hearts, highways and rainy days. But with LP3, Rosevear tops himself yet again, tapping the full potential of Readymade Breakup and presenting a set of wide-angle stereo blockbusters in vivid contrast and color.
But even when a band like RMBU beats the odds and comes to the studio with chemistry andsongs, capturing it on record often proves exceedingly difficult. The right producer and engineer is critical. This time around, the band chose to work with Steve Evetts, whose many credits include artists ranging from the Dillinger Escape Plan to The Cure. But here, perhaps the most significant record in Evetts discography is an 2003 EP called New Tattoo by The Blakes - a band that featured both Rosevear and Elvis. Sonically speaking, New Tattoo remains a vibrant, sexy and essential recording to anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing it. In many ways, it was the zenith of the Rosevear/Elvis catalogue. Until now.
From the first measures of album-opener "Inside All Along," O'Neil and Fitzgerald roll in heavy and steady like a freight train, clearing the way for Elvis' bass to drop in like machine gun fire, leading directly into a fantastic groove firmly planted under Rosevear's first verse. Building to a taught pre-chorus in gang harmony, the tune quickly explodes into a giant chorus that sets the tone for the rest of the record's nine songs.
It would seem the chemistry Rosevear and Elvis forged with Evetts during those earlier sessions must have lit up the entire studio this time around. Whatever atmosphere they created, it allowed Evetts' to pull monumental performances from everyone in the band. The result is an album positively dripping with an infectious energy that comes through the speakers every time. You willplay air guitar, air drums and yes - most certainly - air bass. You will sing along. And you'll smile and feel a certain cool satisfaction in knowing Readymade Breakup.
As listeners, we can only hope that they stay together for a long time.
--Jason Kundrath, Smashing the Block