January 26, 2017

LP: Rebel Kind - Just For Fools

You'd be a fool not to keep up with Rebel Kind.

It can be hard to find the perfect combination of angry lyrics and palatable listening. With searing, sweetly sung lyrics and the perfect music to soundtrack an afternoon rage session, Michigan’s Rebel Kind has packed a punch in their late 2016 release, Just For Fools. Put out on Urinal Cake Records, the 27-minute album is endearingly earnest songwriting over '60s-tinged garage rock, condemning any ex that dared to do them wrong. Lead by Autumn Wetli on vocals and guitar; with Amber Fellows on a multitude of instruments such as drums, percussion, piano, guitar, organ, and even recorder; and Shelley Salant on bass, guitar, and percussion, the group has a vintage-girl-group feel that's tailored for these trying times.

Fitting thirteen songs into an album makes each one over before it really has begun and begs for the album to be listened to repeatedly, each spin revealing something missed before. Opening up with the helplessness of not being able to control who you fall for, “Pop Star” gives all the feels right off the bat. You don’t want your ex, but you can’t help it, and Wetli fully gets it. Next up is “Billy Spoke His Mind,” an important reminder for the daily news grind that “the truth is always blind,” sung over ferociously strum guitars. With sweet harmonies and easy-to-follow lyrics, “I Don’t Want To See You” is best imagined as a girl group reboot, complete with singers in bouffants and matching dresses. The “piss off, I don’t need you”-style lyrics surrounded by saccharine harmonies are a great juxtaposition to the stereotypical sixties’ sweetheart sound, with the angst of an independent woman scorned. The title track is an anthem for the no-longer-heartbroken; “I’m feeling stronger now without you than I’ve ever felt before” cracks open the track. “I don’t want to play your games no more, I’ve got my own to play / I’ve found someone better than you in every conceivable way,” Wetli sings in the most scathing break up song. “I’m alone, but I’m not lonely,” she triumphs. It’s everything you’d want in a freshly-single anthem.

We've all admittedly felt lonely while surrounded by people and “At The Party” puts those awkward feelings into song - with guitars to jump around to, slowing for a moment so you can catch your breath before launching into “at the party full of people, it’s getting hard to even smile when I feel so alone.” Belt it out, knowing you’re not alone in feeling alone; these songs are meaningful anthems of self-love and acceptance. Followed by “Everything You Said Was Just A Lie,” another blistering take down of an ex for those in the angry stage of the break up process. “You’re dead to me!” Welti shouts, presumably blocking her ex on all social media and deleting their phone number. Just For Fools is perfect for the end of a relationship, tearing apart the subject's actions for the majority of the album. But it ends on a hopeful note with “Kiss Me,” the longest song on the album, and a desperate confession of a new crush. Wetli sets the scene with the all too familiar excitement: “There is something in your eyes, makes me wanna kiss you, and you wanna kiss me too.” She’s moved on from the terrible ex, and so can you. Although social anxiety and shyness get in the way of the initial lip contact, there is such confidence in the new connection. Loud, distorted guitars play the track out, a symbol of the inner turmoil of being so close to the person you want, but letting them slip away. Fortunately, Rebel Kind knows there will always be another chance.


Listen to Rebel Kind on bandcamp.

Kat Harding is a music publicist living in Nashville, TN, with her loud kitty cat Goose. She often cries when excited at shows and can be found on twitter at @iwearaviators.