Add meat-and-potatoes Milwaukee/Madison rockers The Rebuilts to the list of Wisconsin bands who are looking back at early punk and rockabilly for inspiration. In their case, you can almost hear Johnny Thunders and Sid Vicious whispering encouragement in the background as lead singer Skip Peer hiccups and snarls his way through the lyrics of "In the Ring" from their 2007 EP Four on the Floor.
Here their subject is love and, since this is a dirty-ass, three-chord rock tune, it's no surprise that The Rebuilts' take on the sweetest emotion is as raw as a set of freshly scraped knuckles.
The persona Peer inhabits isn't some love-struck teenager. He's a man of considerable experience who's been bashed and bruised in affairs of the heart, and yet he's willing to climb through the ropes again and take his lumps in order get some more of the good stuff. It's a practical approach to the vagaries of huggin' and kissin' and canoodlin', to say the least, and one that more mature punks can certainly get next to.
While all the playing is appropriately rough-and-ready, the musical highpoint here is a hard-edged -- but very un-punk -- harmonica solo Peer delivers toward the end of the song. It provides a welcome shift and really kicks up the energy level just as the slash-and-burn rocker threatens to become pro forma.
An MP3 of the track are available in the related downloads at right. Four on the Floor is available for purchase at B-Side Records, Mad City Music Exchange, and Strictly Discs.
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