Irrational Anthem


7940 Records, 2004

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Iron fist in a velvet glove, hell. RPM, who has with one CD ascended to my Personal Pantheon Of Coolness, is more like a titanium fist in a sandpaper glove with little spiky bits all over it. She's mean as fuck, she's smart as a whip, and she'll be only too glad to kick your ass if you need it or if you piss her off. She has punk sensibility, in-your-face songwriting, an active social conscience, and there are _string hits_ on Irrational Anthem, her debut CD.. In short, she's damn near perfect. So's the CD.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Sure, It has PARENTAL ADVISORY stamped all over it. (And if you think the lyrics are bad, you should read the liner notes. Gotta love an artist who tells Clear Channel "Fuck you." It's refreshing.) But under all the vitriol and attitude is some tight, tight singing; brilliant lyrics; and generally great rock and roll. This is great stuff -- and best of all, it's not posturing calculated to sell CDs to teenysomethings. April Lavigne only WISHES she was half -- no, hell, a sixteenth -- as much a riotgrrl as RPM.

The production (courtesy of Frank Gryner, who has worked with Rob Zombie, The Crystal Method, and A Perfect Circle) is adequate to good; there's occasional fuzz in the mix, but nothing that RPM's vocals can't blow through. Musicianship is good to excellent; there's some snarling guitar throughout the CD that counterpoints the anger and passion really well.

In some ways, though, the music is secondary (though filled with occasional surprises like the aforementioned orchestra hits). The heart and soul of Irrational Anthem is RPM and all the things that piss her off -- and it's exhilarating. In forty minutes, she manages to flip the lyrical bird at organized religion ("Goddamnit"), average sheeplike people ("Don't Be You"), the mainstream media ("Girl Next Door"), false friendship ("Unlike Me"), and as a piece de resistance tells a persistent suicide to go ahead and jump ("I Won't Stop You"). You may not agree with everything she says, but you can't fault her passion, her fire, or the depth of her feeling. Something is rotten everywhere you look, and RPM's apparently tired of ignoring it. It's easy to call this cynicism; but is it cynicism if it's really this fucked up?

Halfway through Irrational Anthem, RPM neatly summarizes herself in two lines: "Am I making you nervous? Well, I should". Frankly, I think we could use some more nervous, 'cause the emperor is out of clothes. If you're tired of media hype and fake rebels, do yourself a favor and check out the real thing.

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Rating: A

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© 2004 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of 7940 Records, and is used for informational purposes only.