Legends of Rodeo
A Thousand Friday Nights
Styles: punk, country and blues rock
Others: Rancid, Screeching Weasel, The Smugglers
Derived from the same scene as their friends in Dashboard Confessional, Further Seems Forever, and New Found Glory, Legends of Rodeo prove not only musically different from those bands, but also brim with much more personality. Ripping through twelve rocking bar songs on their debut album, A Thousand Friday Nights, the band reminds us how good and just how bad songwriting can be.
The music can be described as a blend between punk rock and classic rock with a country and blues touch. Everything about the band conjures images of apple pie, the US flag, ripped jeans, baseball, Budweiser, and Fords, evident in their song titles: "The Flags," "The Devil Started Rock And Roll," "American Love," and "Bartender."
The strongest asset the band has is vocalist/guitarist John Ralston, who adds much needed personality to the music. The voice cuts through the mix like scissors through a greasy mullet. With the nonchalant attitude of Tim Armstrong (Rancid) and the snot attitude of Ben Weasel (The Screeching Weasels), Ralston acts as the lovable frontman, sounding like he's had a few too many beers. The lyrics have very little artistic value, yet they are honest and straightforward: "In 9th grade I got my first guitar / In 10th grade I got my first car and drove 'round / And played the music loud / That's when I bought Pearl Jam "10" / And my life wasn't the same again," sings Ralston on "The Devil Started Rock And Roll." Try to imagine these lyrics over a chord progression a la Jewel, albeit slightly overdriven-- not an easy task.
Elsewhere, "Saint Street" showcases Ralston's surprisingly strong, flexible vocal chords. Obviously the strongest track, the song features piano amidst the head-knodding beat and overdriven guitars, firmly rooted in contemporary rock. But the rest of the album's tracks are mediocre, ranging from bearable ("Baltimore Blues," "Standard Life") to unbearable ("Bartender," American Love") to gun-to-the-head music ("Nothing Better To Do").
Ultimately, Legends of Rodeo's debut is both successful and unsuccessful. It's successful in creating a band overflowing with personality, instantly causing listeners to fall in love with the band. You can't help but smile when you hear a cheesy distorted guitar solo, no matter how serious the band is. And it's refreshing to hear such stripped down music with so much attitude and heart, all while using rock's conventional tools. However, not only is the music derivative, but it also can be quite annoying at times. But when the band is on, they are on. And that's hell of a lot more you can say than most of the shit bands on radio and MTV.
1. Hold On Nothing
2. American Love
3. Crazy Eight
4. Saint Street
6. Baltimore Blues
7. The Flags
8. Long Road
9. Devil Started Rock And Roll
10. Nothing Better To Do
11. Travel And Trust
12. Standard Life