I recently talked to REBEL’s frontman Micke and asked him how the band’s new release, Locations, was coming along. Micke said that he was excited and extremely proud of their work. I honestly didn’t expect anything less from REBEL.
But then I got worried when he said that this project’s sound was more mature. When I hear the word “mature” used to describe a band’s sound, I tend to kind of freak out. In my mind, when a band says their sound is mature it means that they sound like R.E.M and I don’t like R.E.M. That’s like saying you once sounded like Nirvana and went from In Utero to sounding like some prepped-out shit.
Thankfully, REBEL’s upcoming EP doesn’t sound anything like R.E.M.
In fact, I think that everything on Locations is the product of things just falling into place perfectly.
If you have ever gone to a REBEL show, you’ll know that there’s no standing still whatsoever. Their music is very balls-to-the-wall. Truthfully, I love electronic rock and I think that REBEL really represents electronic rock more than most bands in Miami.
That was, of course, until I heard Locations.
I was invited to hear Locations at Casa De REBEL. Right away I noticed a lot of differences from their second EP, INTRCPTR. Of course most bands try to not repeat the sound of their previous album, but REBEL made a smart move here instead. While everything you heard previously from this band including INTRCPTR was more punk rock with some electronic sequences, Locations is a well-balanced mix between the two.
While most of the tracks on this EP may have lost their punk rock speed, they gained a much more refined and rich sound with more sequences and thought-provoking sections. Sure, REBEL’s music is still catchy and you can dance to it, but it’s not as high-tempoed as their previous stuff. It still sounds like a party, but more like the type of party that captivates your ears.
Let’s put it this way, if REBEL once sounded like a faster punk rock version of Muse, now they sound like Depeche Mode with extra cojones.
It’s hard for me to review their EP because while I try hard to listen to it like a fan, my production brain takes over. The EP is well-produced, but not over-produced and what I love about the sound in general is the dirt! The sounds on Locations are filthy and layered to leave the headroom feeling full. The quality of Micke’s vocals are farther improved in this EP as well. The drums on this album are layered to every angle of it’s muscles and bones…if that makes any sense. The layering between electronic and rock drums leaves you wondering if they used a drum machine or a live kit. The big secret is that they used BOTH.
In a world where indie rock is the new pop of the rock scene, it’s refreshing to hear REBEL. Locations is a better EP than their previous work, and while the sound is different, it’s a good different. My only concern when listening to Locations was wondering how REBEL would ever manage to pull off all of the production on this EP during a live show.
I guess we’ll just have to see for ourselves during their EP Release Tour. It starts in Ft Lauderdale at the Green Room (5/19), then stops at the Vagabond (5/25), Respectables (5/26) and the New World Brewery (6/1) in Tampa.
I highly encourage people who want to hear something new and unsaturated to pick up Locations. It’s worth it.