On Top

Rye Coalition

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On Top Review

by Tom Semioli

On Top is an enjoyable assault on the senses that captures the bombast of classic 1970s heavy metal and the occasional irony of alternative rock. Throughout this collection, Rye Coalition shamlessly worships at the altar of Kiss, Grand Funk Railroad, and Spinal Tap via weathered, punk-inspired chord progressions, muddy basslines, lead-footed drum patterns, and hammer-handed guitar riffs that will shake, rattle, and roll hockey arenas until the end of time. The useless beauty of this record is summed up succinctly in the bridge of "Stop Eating While I'm Smoking," when the call and response that beckons "What is they want?/Give the kids a shot!" descends into absolute mayhem. The band's ragged glory is snared by producer Steve Albini, who opts to leave in the mistakes and feedback while administering as little polish as possible. The cheeky moments abound, especially in "Freshly Frankness," a silly track that pokes fun at Led Zeppelin's "Since I've Been Loving You" with mock blues panache, and "Heart of Gold, Jacket of Leather," which is the best send-up of Sunset Strip glam metal ever rendered. Their mission is to rock. Mission accomplished.

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