In a world where the rock music scene is dominated by four- and five-piece bands, it is interesting and refreshing to see how bands comprised of fewer members can be just as loud and just as good as the rest. Edmonton two-piece rock band, Red Hot Gospel, shows just how diverse two people with only a guitar and a drum kit can be on their debut EP, Surrender…or…be destroyed.
When the album first begins, we are not given high expectations for the rest of the EP. The opening riff of “Honest Mechanic” is generic at best, and about thirty seconds in, when it finally gains some uniqueness, it becomes repetitive to the point of sounding tedious. The chorus of the song is also repeated a few too many times, which takes away from the song. The song has a similar style to some of the more light-hearted tracks of R.E.M., and the vocalist sounds like a weaker cross between Michael Stipe and Ian Curtis ( of Joy Division). Though it was overall a pretty average track at best, the rest of the album fared much better.
With “Some Other Day” comes stronger vocals, better lyrics and far less repetition. The song is reminiscent of late 90s and early 2000s rock, sounding almost like Jet at times, with a very slight 80s influence peeking through at times. When “Hour Long Punch” first begins, the guitar sounds similar to Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping”. Luckily, however, the rest of the song is much better. Though Kendall Orr does not have the biggest vocal range, his voice is strong and fun to listen to.
“Stability” and “Targets” are both nearly flawless tracks. The former is a grunge track that starts off sounding similar to Alice in Chains and then becomes groovier and more upbeat towards the end. Its lyrics are perfect, the vocals are at their best, and it is by far the best track on the album. “Targets” starts off by sounding like a more hard rock version of The Cult at first, though the vocals are not as strong as those of Ian Astbury. The beat changes more often than in the other songs, which makes it a great track, though it would be even better if its lyrics weren’t as repetitive.
Red Hot Gospel did a great job of playing pure rock and roll in their EP, and it’s a great listen for all fans of the genre, especially for those who have a love of guitar.
Written by Franca G. Mignacca