RPM is a slightly-harder edged version of Avril Lavigne. Replace the definite pop influences of Avril with a slightly more rock influence (Bif Naked, Green Day, The Donnas) and you have RPM. While RPM seems to have all of eir politics in order (with liner notes attacking Clear Channel for post-9/11 lists), this music seems to be derivative and just a little late in the game to ride someone like Lillix or Avril’s coattails. However, RPM doesn’t seem to be openly grabbing at politics to get a free ride to the top – throughout the music, we are continually exposed to snippets and pieces of eir philosophy, from rejecting eir’s Catholic indoctrination in “Goddamnit”; “Don’t buy into Jesus, He won’t cure your diseases, All along I’ve been fine” and the following track, “Can’t Take Me Anywhere”; “So you all, Tell it like its not, But all your lies ,Have been store bought”
Unlike Avril, though, RPM does not have to rely on pitifiul-sounding ballads to try to reach a larger audience – like the aforementioned Bif Naked (and also like Josie and the Pussycats-era Letters to Cleo), RPM can create a cohesive sound that is poppy yet without having to try to cover all bases. What really makes this disc for me is the fact that each of the instruments are played by RPM eirself or the proiducer of the album, a feat that is all the more amazing when one actually listens to how well each and every song is put together. The disc itself suffers a little bit with serious over-production of the instruments, making them sound too much like one cohesive beast, a collection that seemingly could be put out by computer instead of a real person. However, the crux musically for “Irrational Anthem” comes during the penultimate track, “Helium”, with the lush guitars mixing heavenly with the fuck-off-with-sugar voice of RPM.
While the controlled rebellion on this disc may be just a little clichéd, it is necessary to remember that this fury has been the leading impetus for rock music since the earliest days of rock in the fifties. “A Happy Song” is a slower-tempo song, something that could be on the opening credits of a Dawson’s Creek-clone, but it really pays to pay attention to some of the lyrics; “I wanna write a happy song, One I could sing for my mom, Instead I read, How to build a bomb”. This is ironic, this is tongue-in-cheek, and while it may not be inventive, it still is fun above all. Pick this up with the money that you got for trade-in of your old Britney Spears and Vanessa Carlton CDs.
Top Tracks: Goddamnit, Helium
RPM – Irrational Anthem / 11 Songs / 2004 7940 Records / http://www.7940records.com / http://www.rpm.tv / Reviewed 28 January 2004