Written by Mike Yoder, posted by blog admin
Rejectionist Front has scored some important appearances on compilation recordings and shared the same stages as legendary acts like George Clinton and P-Funk, Joan Baez, and Tom Morello, among others in an obvious confirmation of their growing status in the modern music world. Their music doesn’t necessarily remake the wheel, but it takes up the mantle of intelligent hard rock and adds distinctive multi-part vocals to their songwriting mix that set them apart from the pack. They also share the rare distinction of never overextending things the way some acts in this vein do – instead, Rejectionist Front specializes in songs that never run on too long yet contain a vast musical world within relatively contained space. Evolve is a wildly expressive and musically satisfying ride that their existing fans will embrace and new listeners will admire a great deal.
The album begins with “Ride” and it’s one of the near anthems on Evolve from a band who could likely turn out “call to arms” songs in their sleep. The passion coming across through Michael Perlman’s singing and the backing vocals from bassist Tony Tino and guitarist Lincoln Prout play an important role in planting this first song deep in listener’s memories. The near progressive guitar textures of this first cut give way to a clearer rock and roll edge from the second tune “All I Am” and it’s much more of a vocal performance resting on Perlman’s back with strategically placed secondary singing along the way. This is one of the rhythm section’s best performances from Evolve and has a free-wheeling, barnstorming quality that the band revisits and refines in later tunes as well. Rejectionist Front’s strong lyrics stand out on the third song “Savior” and the vocals enhance them quite a bit with their fierce yet musically aware phrasing. Prout’s guitar work makes a number of songs on Evolve soar higher than they perhaps might have with a lesser player, yet has a sense of restraint uncommon to lead players in this genre that strengthens the song’s impact.
There’s a slightly lighter air surrounding the track “All Is the Same” and Perlman’s voice recalls Eddie Vedder’s delivery, but never slavishly. There’s some great backing vocals too that dovetails well with the near jangle that Prout’s guitar adopts for significant periods of the song. They toy with another near anthem on the album’s sixth song “Reclaim” but, as before, Rejectionist Front stays away from the sort of histrionics typifying most songs of this type. The personal stakes informing the band’s socially conscious material is one of the factors that set them apart from many of their generation. Prout’s six string playing is especially good on this song. The single “Flush” has been accorded a video as well and there’s a strongly commercial quality to the song that makes it one of the more appealing cuts on Evolve. The second to last song on the album, “Resurrection”, has a wildly inventive arrangement that plays well in its spartan and heavier iterations. Their mastery of bringing dynamics into their songs is notable from the opening to beginning of Evolve and there’s not a moment of filler to be found on the band’s second studio release.