Written by Jason Hillenburg, posted by blog admin
New York City based Rejectionist Front’s second album Evolve picks up where they left off with their debut Shock the Conscious Mass and take things a step further. Fronted by singer/songwriter/activist Michael Perlman, the band sports some obvious music influences they spin in a distinctly modern and individualistic way. It remains an entertaining effort that never presents an out of whack balance between the songs’ primary elements. There’s a dozen songs on this album and they avoid the dreaded sophomore slump thanks to retaining the same focus on the songwriting that made the first album stand out so strongly. Produced by World2Be Entertainment, Evolve has an impressive and forceful sound that, nonetheless, comes across with great warmth and bottom end.
“Ride” is an evocative and superbly orchestrated opener. The band definitely follows the example of ambitious alt rock and classic rock acts with the dynamic thrust of the song, the alternating passages of light and shadow, but they unexpectedly sweeten their musical stew with multi-part harmony vocals that enhance the performance in unexpected ways. “All I Am” is a much more straight-forward rocker with some inspired, even slightly raunchy, guitar playing from Lincoln Prout. Perlman has a tangible vocal presence on both of the first two songs, but the harmony vocals from Prout and bassist Tony Tino are equally crucial on the album’s second cut. “All Is the Same” has a faint hint of Pearl Jam’s influence permeating the tune, but there’s a steady amble to the track that quickly ingratiates itself with the audience. The rhythm section of Tino and drummer Dave Dawson turn in a particularly interesting performance with their work on the song. Perlman’s talent for writing issue-oriented tunes that embrace a very human quality makes his writing resound with a more timeless quality and rarely is that more apparent than on the track “Reclaim”. Dawson’s drumming is strong again and there’s some light strings employed with this number. This is, unquestionably, an anthem in Rejectionist Front’s own distinctive style, but nonetheless recognizable.
There’s some great riffing and transitions making “Flush” fly like it needs to and there’s little doubt why the band chose it as a single release. It’s a turbulent and entertaining tune with the same vocal excellence in a hard rock setting that distinguished the earlier songs. They mix the pensive and raucous on the song “Hold Or Break” and it’s another passionate guitar workout with one of Perlman’s most diverse vocals on Evolve. Rejectionist Front concludes their second album with the song “Inside of Me” and follows much of the same template laid down in the more modulated tracks, but they further refine the technique here with a more nuanced approach. It ends Evolve on the same intelligent note that defines the album’s twelve songs. Rejectionist Front’s sophomore slump proves to be nothing of the kind; instead, this improves on the first album and represents a new peak for their efforts.