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Album Review: Riverboat Gamblers - Smash/Grab EP

Riverboat Gamblers are a band that fully embody the fast, raw and loud ethos that has gradually begun to fade somewhat within the genre (at least the representatives acknowledged by the widest audience). Yet in a manner unsimilar to that of their style, their latest offering 'Underneath The Owl' was released in good old 2009, and suffice to say it was time they fed the fans with something to pass the time. Enter 'Smash/Grab EP'.

With fuzzed out vocals and instrumentals of a relentless nature, 'Anything But You' shows little to no restraint in its show of punk rock attitude. The energy of the song is only highlighted by the rawness of the recording, giving it a live and unleashed feel. As is the case with many a punk rock song, the basic structure can become a little tiresome, but with a little over a minute of running time as well as a suitable climax, the band manage to create a viable and credible track. 'Maggie Lea', on the other hand, bears a branch in the blues genealogy with a sweet lick/riff that shows hints of a heavy White Stripes.

'The Ol' Smash and Grab's sweet riff and hard rock vibe changes this simple song into an incredibly infectious ode to rock n' roll. The song avoids falling into the territory of 'repetitive romp' territory by incorporating a number of variants and sections that don't tread the same lines. A solo thrown in for good measure and we've got ourselves a great up-beat track for good times. Closer 'Parasite Hate' isn't the most memorable track here with its garage rock stylings and the tendency (usually assimilated with British bands) to sneer through songs. The songwriting is a little less pin-point but it's unlikely to become the target of much hate either.

All in all, Riverboat Gamblers have come up with a great taster of what's yet to come, showcasing their versatility and including the most important element of all: fun. There is rarely a boring section in the EP and there's something for everybody. If anyone is interested in getting a 10-minute punk-rock party in their ears any time soon, 'Smash/Grab' should be their weapon of choice.


James Berclaz-Lewis

Alter The Press!