The River City Rebels’ two-track 7” vinyl EP release, “Headed To Hell” leaves little to the imagination as it fills in the senses and disavows any silences with solid instrumentalism. A certain constancy of rock-a-billy reverb and alt-country echo keep the lead track “Hades” ballooning out to fill the ear with desolation and cowboy blues, as the song’s steady progression of guitar and vocals is accented by brassy horn notes. A general analogy might be made in suggesting that the River City Rebels are catching an E Street Band effect via Brandon Rainer’s trombone and Dan McCool’s trumpet substitute for saxophone, and this would be somewhat substantiated by the Boss-like annunciation in lead man Day O’Day’s voice. However, it might be more interesting to put the River City Rebels’ sound on this A-side song in the open-ended category of country-influenced Mid-East rockers like Ontario’s The Great Lake Swimmers or Pittsburgh’s own Big Snow, Big Thaw and The Armadillos.
On the B-side track “Shiny Gun” the band’s sound is less wedded to country and could be seen as roving out across the range into Jayhawks & Wilco territory. Then again, it could be somewhat summarily lumped-in with aspects of a Mellencamp smalltown ballad. As on the A-side, the sound is expansive – this time with Rainer moving from trombone to the keyboard and adding a plunking rift into the midsection of the song. To get completely away from the lexicon of using other bands to describe a sound that the River City Rebels are capturing in “Headed To Hell,” consider the sounds that might fit best with driving around a rust belt town in a beat ’83 Nova, laughing at death because there’s nothing else to do.
The River City Rebels’ “Headed To Hell” is available in stores and through their label, Screaming Crow Records at: www.screamingcrow.com