While 1996's Don't Tell Me Now was full of great pop songs (as must be expected from such a collaboration), they weren't easily distinguishable from one another--the common elements were too common for any one track to be truly extraordinary. The Rebel's Not In's tracks are schizophrenically diverse while not stepping out of the bounds of Halo Bender-ness. Johnson agreed in a recent telephone conversation, saying, "I think of Don't Tell Me Now as a less successful album in terms of it being an album that you put on and listen to all the way through. It didn't strike me as quite as compelling as I hoped it would be. Individually, the songs seem really good, but it doesn't seem to fit together cohesively. I probably agree that the songs are more interrelated on the other record."
The Rebel's Not In makes good on the promise the band always had. The components never before fused quite as brilliantly as here.
"It was more focused," Johnson says. "The first record was completely thrown together, pretty much improv in a way. The second record we did work on a lot, but I think we were learning how to work together. So on this record, I think we benefited from both experiences, and were able to put the two together in a way that worked."
TRNI is a pop collage incorporating punky teeny-bop ("Do That Thing"), faux Brit-pop ("Virginia Reel Around the Fountain"), spaghetti-western schlock ("Lonesome Sundown") and philosophy of the heart ("Love Travels Faster"). Leave your rebellion at the door, and surrender your halo for modification; the Halo Benders are in charge now. (K Records, P.O. Box 7154, Olympia, WA 98507)
Vern Rumsey Is Not a Dead Man: Contrary to rumors circulating on the Internet, Unwound bassist Vern Rumsey was not killed in a car wreck recently. Actually, Rumsey and his fellow sonic deconstructivists will be in the Valley soon, touring in support of Unwound's stellar sixth album, Challenge for a Civilized Society. Joining them at the Tempe Bowl on Saturday, February 21, will be one of Revolver's favorite groups of punk kids, the Peechees. Go tell Rumsey you're happy he's not six feet under; he'll appreciate it.
Contact Brendan Kelley at his online address: [email protected]