RIGHTEOUS JAMS
"Business as Usual"

(Abacus)

01. Thought Vacation
02. More Is More
03. Instinct and Music
04. 23
05. Nothing Happens
06. Business as Usual
07. Lizards
08. You Have Issues
09. Adams St.
10. The Price of Redemption

RATING: 4/10

I suppose it's supposed to be a joked, but it's still an awful name for a band. Boston's RIGHTEOUS JAMS goes for the rock 'n' roll infused hardcore thing with tepid results. I've been hearing more of the style as of late and, with the exception of CANCER BATS, it has not worked very well. "Business as Usual" is a 24-minute disc that never approaches anything with long-term appeal, even if there are a few moments that sound like the band may improve with future releases.

Tunes like "Thought Vacation" and the title track sport a no-frills and basically raw guitar sound, but fall flat due to arrangements that go nowhere fast and riffs that taste good initially but never fill you up. "23" is the one song on the album that is better than average, thanks to a hooky chorus and solid arrangement. With it's semi-memorable, though ultimately, silly chorus "You Have Issues" almost gets there, although it gets tired quick.

"Business as Usual" is not an awful album and when playing as background music perks up the ears here and there because of the generally rockin' vibe. But when it comes down to it, most of the songs seem unfinished and unexciting. After multiple listens you'll keep expecting a couple more songs to prove to be more than just rock 'n' roll, uh, jams. It's too bad that those moments never arrive, the exceptions noted above notwithstanding. RIGHTEOUS JAMS seem to have the right idea and it is not as though anything flat-out sucks. The problem is one of songwriting; if it isn't there, it will not matter how hard the band tries to kick ass and take names. And as far as the press release comparisons to bands like BLACK FLAG and CRO-MAGS are concerned, all I can say is, you've got to be kidding me. Better luck next time.

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