Swinging with as much firepower as a vintage American muscle car, The Respectables get right into the groove of “That Girl” and impress upon anyone listening just how committed to the classic rock model they truly are. The subtly country “Wheel in My Hand” tosses some southern twang into its melting pot of melodies, and much like “18 Wheeler,” doesn’t stop sizzling no matter what volume we’re listening to it at. These three songs and eight others comprise the blistering new album The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll, The Respectables’ first in ten years, and while they’re not glistening in pop polish, they’re definitely the smoothest work of the group so far.
If “That Girl” has the swing, “Give Some” has the missing sway, and uses it as a foundation for its brutally physical riffing. “Mardi Gras,” one of the more exotic tracks on the LP, bridges the first half of the record into the second without skipping a beat, and though it’s not as tenacious as the title track, it isn’t lacking in lyrical substance at all. The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll is constructed with very diverse material, but it never feels like a haphazard mixtape.
“Highway 20” is a smart exhibition of the band’s terrific harmonizing as a group, and with “The Shotgun Seat,” makes for the most rhythmically intoxicating song on the album. “As Good as Love Gets” is, regrettably, sort of predictable percussively, but right next to it in “Oasis,” the jaded tone of the drums gets replaced with a surreal spaciness that lends to the introspective nature of the lyrics. “Limousine” is a little too stripped down for my taste, but it doesn’t feel out of place in this record at all. The Respectables had a decade to put this LP together, and you can tell that they spent plenty of time making sure that it was everything that it could be from both a musical and a production standpoint.
The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll isn’t the only juggernaut in their discography, but I do think that it’s the most fluid and consistent release that The Respectables have chosen to share with us since forming so many years ago. The basslines are beefy, the guitars are crunchy where it counts, and as the music hypnotizes us with its seamless mix, the poetic narratives in the lyrics remind us of who these guys really are, underneath the hard-rocking persona that they’ve fashioned for themselves. To put it quite simply, The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll is an identity record for this band, and it’s a worthwhile listen for curious indie fans looking for something fresh.