Some bands take years to write and record that first record. You only make your debut once. Certain acts nail it right off the bat, find the groove, the move, the message, the splendor and the blunder and oh yeah, the wonder. The Doors and Pearl Jam found it in a flash. So did Guns N’ Roses. Revelation Theory, however, did not.
Make no mistake, Truth is Currency – the band’s 2005 toe-dip into the ocean of professional rock n’ roll, produced by Grammy winner Paul Ebersold (3 Doors Down, Saliva) – is no slouch. It’s an honest, raw, somewhat timid yet well-intentioned effort. Highlighted by the gritty ‘Slowburn,’ the LP did what a virgin indie (Element Records) release is supposed to. It put the band on the road, in a van, with a pizza and Pepsi diet and taught them the priceless art of how to judiciously juggle the back bunk when a local lady demands a personal tour of the bus. In other words, Truth is Currency permitted Revelation Theory a glimpse of the dream or in romantic terms, a career.
Young acts get so Tsunami-ed by the illusion that because they have a record and a tour, their shit suddenly stopped producing an obnoxious aroma. Take it from a fly whose buzzed around these walls since commissioning the review of The Crue’s Too Fast for Love for CHIC Magazine in 1983, no glory cometh to the lazy or entitled. Too Fast sucked in many ways except one: Its raw, uncaring, attitude ignited the 80s glam metal movement all the delight and decadence that came with it. The Crue also toured their tattooed leather trousers off and Nikki Sixx never stopped writing. In 1990, evolution spawned Dr. Feelgood, a hard rock masterpiece.
Which brings us to the purpose of my inhaling this rarefied air of corporate composition. I fucking LOVE the second, brave, loud, crunchy, hook-sick, bombastic, Appetite-inspired long play from the band once called Revelation Theory but who now simply go by the brilliantly ambiguous moniker, Rev Theory. My theory is that Rich Luzzi, Julien Jorgensen, Dave Agoglia, Matt McCloskey and Rikky Lixx aren’t that hung up on names. Revelation, revolution, revulsion, reversion, reverence –just call ‘em Rev then shut the fuck up and prepare to rock.
Do you know how often a vintage-riffed, throat-blazing anthem comes along? The kind of song that whether it’s cranking off your stereo or pummeling you live from the stage, it demands your heartfelt, fist-pumping participation? You must join in the chorus or the shame is just too much to bear? “Gimme a Hell/Gimme a Yeah/Stand Up Right now!” Track one on Rev Theory’s triumphant new LP, Light it Up, is destined to be a concert call to action that will raise the roofs off every building these east coast-bred rockers invade on their trek across Planet Rock. “Hell Yeah” is a raging hard on, poised to penetrate, and the exquisite pain upon entry symbolizes how good it can feel when a group of musicians really nail it.
Nothing fuels my faith in rockers more than a band that’s paid their dues yet remains in gratitude for the journey. For three years, Rev Theory toured tirelessly -- opening for the likes of Evanescence, Papa Roach, Buck Cherry and Saliva – vending their humble independent wares to audience members who’d just worked up a good sweat and decent pulse rate. They stood outside venues before and after shows with CDs, stickers, flyers, and an endless energy to connect with their organically growing fan base. And when the back of the bus wasn’t vibrating, these boys were writing songs. Really strong songs, the compost of Light it Up.
Feigning hyperbole and at the risk of being branded biased because I’m on assignment, I say without hesitation that this is one of the strongest sophomore efforts I’ve heard in quite some time. Through the brilliant production mentoring Brian Howes and Josh Abraham, Rev Theory has blossomed beautifully. In melody, musicianship and sonic sweetness, Light it Up smokes like a Rastafarian reefer.
“Wanted Man,” “Falling Down,” and the monstrous title track snap the neck with whiplash force. Lead singer Rich and bassist Matty combine to form a vocal powerhouse, harrowingly harmonious in their two-prong tonsil attack that marries gloriously with Julien’s locomotive rhythms and Dave’s thunderous skins. But my most beloved foray into frenetic fun is “Favorite Disease.” This song is so infectious; it may indeed prove to be hazardous to one’s health.
Okay, all cuteness aside, Rev Theory did not just appear on the radar like a UFO blip and has no designs on being the ‘next big thing’ or fad-driven flavor of the minute. They could give a fuck. Like so many serendipitous street stories, this one was written outside the lines. “Dave, Julien and I have been friends since college,” says Rich. “One night we met at this bar and started singing Pearl Jam songs. Jules came up to me and said, ‘Dude, I had no idea you had such great pipes.’ Out of adversity came opportunity.”
The back-story of a rock group isn’t what catches your attention or keeps you engaged. A million bands and a million tales – some make it, some don’t, most never get the chance – what matters is the music. What always matters is the music. The music and the ears upon which those tunes are falling, also known as the proud and loyal fan. Rev Theory is conscious of that reality because they are fans themselves. Recording and performing are scared trusts they collectively cherish. Light it Up passed through them from beyond the beyond.
Now it’s yours. Revel in that.