Playin' to Live, Livin' to Play shows a change in the lineup of the River City Rebels -- with former trumpet player Dan McCool now on vocals -- and a serious revision of the punk sound has occurred as well. While the Rebels still have a trombone and sax player, they are thrown so far down in the mix that their impact on the album is negligible. This is a punk band through and through -- forget any notion of ska music. They're now writing catchier, more Rancid-like punk tunes -- punk with a little "umph!" -- and they even have punked themselves out with the studded belts and tattoos. This could be the next generation of Rancid-type music, it's just too bad that it's all been done before. Still, not a bad release and if this pattern of regeneration continues, the River City Rebels show themselves as a band who might do something quite noteworthy.
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AllMusic Review by Kurt Morris