Proto-Americana Band The Rave-Ups Make Triumphant Return with ‘Tomorrow’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Three decades is a long time to wait for a new album. Even more so when the band only had a few records to their name to begin with, but the proto-Americana band The Rave-Ups are finally making up for lost time with the nearly flawless Tomorrow

Maybe it’s frontman Jimmer Podrasky’s unmistakably distinct vocals or the guitars and drums that sound exactly like they did in the beautifully eclectic mid- ‘80s LA rock scene, but Tomorrow picks up exactly where the band left off shortly after their spit following 1990’s Chance. And clichés be damned, there is a strong working-class vibe to the music that Pittsburgh-native Podrasky has always written and that’s even more evident on this latest LP. Much like Los Lobos, The Clarks, Joe Ely and Springsteen, there is a comfortable ease to the songs here that can’t be faked.

The album opener, “So You Wanna Know the Truth,” complete with banjo, is a catchy track about political polarization, while “How Old Am I,” is a song about a father and son relationship that boasts some of the band’s best lyrics to date. “Cry” is a smart, rollicking take down on Trump without ever mentioning his name. But it’s the infectious “Bridget Bardot,” a song that seems to be about anything but it’s namesake, that is certain to stick with listeners the longest.  

Their current label – Omnivore Recordings – deserves a lot of the credit for reuniting the band. The Rave-Ups came back together five years ago to play their debut, Town + Country, at a record release party celebrating that album’s reissue on Omnivore. A few years later Podrasky and drummer Tim Jimenez got together to start working on what would become “Violets on a Hill” (a country-tinged mid-tempo rock number from Tomorrow). The duo ended up bringing in guitarist Terry Wilson and bassist Tommy Blatnik and the result can be heard all over Tomorrow. The record may lack a little of the immediacy of that 1995 debut but more than makes up for in song writing, making for their most consistently great album – song for song – in their catalogue. So far. 

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