Track 1: “Wait and See”. The opening refrain of the first song sounds more like the end of a song. The Southern rock, blues groove carries through and fits the lyrics well. And with the opening lyric being “I hate my fucking job” that has all the flavors of becoming an anthemistic ringtone. The vocals evoke a Lynyrd Skynyrd feel.
Track 2: “Built to Rock” ZZ Top influence is heavy in the riffs throughout this song. Sex/women is the theme and the story of the lyrics seem to be homage to a lady who frequents open jams in RHR’s local area in Ohio. The mix and arrangement is tight.
Track 3: “For the benefit of evil” Lyrics speak of the NEED not desire but NEED to rock. The vocalist here draws on Glenn Danzig for his delivery. The song’s overall feel is KISS dipped in Southern fried batter deep in a roadhouse kitchen.
Track 4: “Hellfire” This is the song title that got me intrigued, if only to use this track alone in a Chicago Fire dedicated road trip mix. A mild megaphone effect comes across on the vocals here. Guitar solo after the first chorus is standard fare. The bass, however, is rich, sounding finger plucked and not picked. I could see this song on a mix tape (well, CD or playlist) as one drives, speeding down a highway with the wind in their hair.
Track 5: “I’m coming over” This is a stalker quality song even though the title implies just a booty call. ZZ Top’s down and dirty metaphor and style influence is the strongest in this track more than any of the others, right down to the “Big bad wolf” and “Little red riding hood” imagery.
Track 6: “Wild One” Another good driving beat song with a KISS feel and grittier vocals.
Track 7: “Devil’s Rope” This could be a walk out song for an UFC/MMA/WEC fighter. Rolling riffs back extra gravel in the voice.
Track 8: “Cooking with Gas” The only track that uses the mouth organ, but only in the intro. Anger and stress come through in the lyrics. Working it out – but not necessarily in a healthy way – with “gonna be an ass-whoopin’ tonight” repeated in the chorus.
Track 9: “Open Wide and Say Awesome” Cliche rock riff intro that evokes a bar band song, especially one played late in the set. “Drink, fuck, fight” pretty much says it all.
Track 10: “Two Fisting” This is definitely the fitting final track as it evokes the end of a gig song played to drunks by drunks. Even this recording comes across as sloppier than the other nine tracks.
Overall final thoughts: As we progress through the album sequentially, the dirtiness and grittiness in the theme of the songs gets worse, less happy. The mix is well balanced and professional, especially for a self-release. RHR seem to me a bar band who are looking for a more regional reach, but I don’t see them coming up as the next ZZ Top or Lynyrd Skynyrd. Would I see them live if they rolled through my hood? I would certainly try to make it out. Was it worth what I paid for it? Yes. Would I play it again? Yes.
Additional listening notes: Listened to as mp3 digital download through Zimly app for Android (Samsung Captivate) on standard Chevy HHR sound system circa 2006.