With riffs the size of mountains and songs that swagger like street thugs, Rye Coalition is on a quest to make the earth safe for full-on, capital-R rock again. The neo-garage movement opened the door, but Rye Coalition takes it one step further by fully, unironically embracing its inner AC/DC and Deep Purple. No wonder the band called a song "Stairway to the Free Bird on the Way to the Smoky Water." What keeps Rye Coalition from becoming just a revival act is an ability to stretch this guitar musculature over the skeleton of punk rock, making it more chaotic than anthemic. As New Jersey kids with freshly minted liberal-arts degrees, they're just the right mix of brawn and brain to be the first classic-rock stars of the new millennium.
Sure, their lyrics may veer toward the bizarre at times ("J-Lo's ass gonna make the chair break") but their guitar lines are sweaty, pungent blues, and lead singer Ralph Cuseglio makes the old Jesus Lizard yelp sound fresh all over again. Rye Coalition's new album, On Top, may have been produced by notorious curmudgeon Steve Albini, but it's probably the group's most engaging yet. If you're an At the Drive In enthusiast with a secret KSHE fetish, break out the cheap beer and your horned-hand gesture tonight; Rye Coalition is your not-so-guilty guilty pleasure.