Review by Shannon Shumaker
Rebuilder’s debut full-length album, Rock & Roll In America is not only the perfect summer album, but it also hosts a unique sound that can’t be found in any other recent pop-punk releases. Carried heavily by catchy melodic choruses and strong, upbeat guitar work, Rock & Roll In America has everything that makes a strong pop-punk record, but then Rebuilder throws in an organ, and suddenly, this album becomes a game changer. Obviously influenced by Americana rock & roll, Rebuilder takes things a whole new level with this release fusing that classic sound with the aggression of punk music and catchy choruses that are currently dominating the pop-punk scene.
“The National Bohemian” is a super catchy opening track that introduces you to Rebuilder’s sound perfectly. This song has everything that makes this album strong - great vocal harmonies, a memorable chorus, and the organ peppered throughout the song, supporting the upbeat rhythm section and strong guitar work well. The following two songs, “Look What You’ve Done” and “Heart Attack” expand on that sound with some very organ-heavy parts, acclimating the listener to their unique blend of sounds. While these first three songs are strong and really showcase what Rebuilder are all about, they also tend to sound very similar, but then the fourth track, “Le Grand Fromage” comes in and mixes things up with a slow intro and beautiful vocal part.
As a whole, Rock & Roll In America is a strong release, though it is apparent that the band has a songwriting pattern that they feel comfortable with, as many songs seem to follow the same fast verse into a melodic chorus formula. The lyrism can also be a bit simple, but at the base of it, these songs are catchy as hell and the melodies are memorable. The messages throughout the album are clear and the vocals are strong, making it well worth listening to. There are also some really neat moments as the album progresses, such as the way that “Empty Streets” flows into “When I Grow Up,” which then transitions perfectly into “Luke Warm,” which is easily one of the strongest songs on the album, hosting great vocal harmonies and strong bass work.
There aren’t necessarily any huge moments or songs that really stand apart from the pack on this album, but there are little things in some songs that do make strong moments. The vocal harmonies in “Luke Warm,” or the darker tone of “The White Flag,” are great examples of this.
At the heart of it, Rock & Roll In America doesn’t sound like anything other punk or pop-punk acts are doing right now, which is what makes it a must listen. Rebuilder are doing their own thing, and it has certainly made for a catchy and memorable release. For this being Rebuilder’s debut full length, these guys are only bound to expand on their sound and songwriting in future releases, and I’m excited to see how they grow from here and what they do next.
Listen to "The National Bohemian" or "Le Grand Fromage"