Rebel City Radio – Hello Hypocrite, Hypocrite Hello

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Review by Will Harris

Rebel City Radio 2013

Killer Shark Records

Go back 10 years, and bands that sound like Rebel City Radio — predominantly Californian bands like Rancid, Goldfinger and Bad Religion — were still enjoying regular airplay, and their logos adorned hoodies, patches and bedroom walls across the UK and USA. Now, though many such bands still remain in some form or another, their popularity largely seems to have waned (if only in the mainstream music media), which makes it all the more encouraging to hear such a joyous racket booted out by this lot from Dudley. (If we’re to point out that Hello Hypocrite, Hypocrite Hello is a little late on the Cali punk bandwagon, we should also mention that it also only just dropped through the Midlands Rocks letterbox recently, but was actually released in late 2011).

Though clearly influenced by the ilk of those aforementioned bands, RCR aren’t just cookie-cutter copycats either, equally touting the gravel and spit of British bands like the UK Subs, The Clash and Anti-Nowhere League. And across their debut’s 11 tracks (plus a hidden one) you’ll find a powerful fusion of all these bands: ‘Hide and Seek’ swings its arms towards a defiant ‘you won’t hang me’ chorus; ‘Hunt The Pack’ angrily shouts frustration at society’s lack of prospects; while ‘Johnny Got Led Astray’ is RCR’s contribution to the punk tradition of an ode to a friend lost by the wayside.

Sometimes the similarities to their forbears are a little too close — ‘Reflection’ doesn’t invoke Rancid so much as rip them off entirely — but for the most part Rebel City Radio’s influences are well-distilled into their own ranty formula. Nowhere is this more evident than on the album’s standout track, ‘I Am An Atom Bomb’, which is in-your-face punk at its best, its title forming the simple, instantly memorable hook that is such a joy to shout along to.

It really seems a shame that a band this tight, catchy, and evidently passionate about the music they create may well have missed the boat for any kind of mainstream success, but those kinds of aspirations would miss the (punk) point anyway; for those looking for a fresh nostalgia trip — and a bloody good one — look no further than Hello Hypocrite, Hypocrite Hello.

7.5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. No Guts – No Glory
  2. Johnny Got Led Astray
  3. Hide and Seek
  4. Sign The Dotted Line
  5. Last Goodbye
  6. Rapunzal
  7. Hunt The Pack
  8. Reflection
  9. I Am An Atom Bomb
  10. And The Penny Drops
  11. Human Soundtrack