The Tuesday afternoon that The Redwalls took the time to hop in a sporty utility vehicle was not a rock and roll type of a day. It was standard issue fall - warmish and dying - but we were talking about middle of the afternoon, hours that must feel completely foreign to a gang of retro lovers who've treated all time before 6 p.m. as breakfast time-early since they were making a name as The Pages in high school, in the suburban handles of Chicago. It was disgustingly early. Real life caught up drummer Ben Greeno, who in the past year left the band to do more normal things, but for songwriters Logan and Justin Baren and Andrew Langer, the always fetching mystique of rock and roll glamour and debauchery burns as strongly as it ever did.
They have one sad story about their experience with a major recording company (the whole soulless, sucking the marrow from all of their bones one that thousands can tell) that left them without a home for their music and relatively penniless to some degree, but they've also got endless stories about traveling around the world on airplanes and buses, opening for Oasis one and two years ago. One easily gets the feeling that they all three left the womb wearing filthy clothing and their first words were "verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus" - in that order. They were already processing everything in three and a half minute increments before they had and hand-eye coordination. There's no learning how to do what these three do, really. There's technical know-how, but to smoke cigarettes as coolly as the Baren brothers do - with an emphasis on making every single deadly cloud last in their cheeks and lungs long enough to dance around and smoke its own cigarette down there - and to so effortlessly flatter the golden, revolutionary age of rock and roll, when everything was coming into its own, when songs about holding hands and Palisades Park could actually cause riots of girls and boys, is like teaching a dog how to shed. It's teaching blushing and coaching instinct.
The Redwalls - especially on their excellent new self-titled third record -- aren't playing the kind of snappy British invasion, bluesy rock that they do in order to justify wearing the clothes that they wear or having the haircuts that they have. They don't throw on the oversized sunglasses indoors as any sort of statement about what they're aspiring to be. They would look like they looked and behave as they behave if they were dishwashers and car mechanics. They'd just be the dishwashers and car mechanics who would spend their lunch breaks listening to 8-track tapes of Let It Bleed and Rubber Soul in their cars as they stole a quick high and an egg salad sandwich. A line on "Modern Diet" puts it all out there - the various things that fans and critics alike having been saying for the past six years in one simple incarnation. Logan, along with Justin and Andrew's harmonies, sings, "They say it's all been done before/And there's really nothing new/I guess that's just your point of view."
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