By Stephen Kane
RSP, also known as Rasputin’s Secret Police, are anticipating the release of their latest record entitled “Then.” This will be their first full length album since their 2012 release, “Comfortable.” The band consists of singer/guitarist Brandon Ayers and drummer extraordinaire Josh Phillips. As a power duo of the utmost presence and vigor, the band has been serving the local rock community for more than 10 years now. A sure representation of the future of rock both in Philadelphia and America, RSP has built their foundation and this is exemplified with their record “Then.”
The first song on the album entitled, “Don’t Forget To High Five Me, Man” hails as an anthem for all the suburban kids and avid music followers of the local community surrounding Philadelphia. A warm and welcoming introduction to the album, the song greets the listener with powerful drums and airy overdriven guitar. Interesting charm and allure characteristic of the song is within the lyrics naming suburban Pennsylvania towns in rhythmic meter. Brandon really sets the mark here for remarkable songwriting talent, with a friendly chorus and strong music chemistry.
“Hey, Tom” starts small and slow with quiet guitar and driven percussion. Narrative lyrics display a sense of confusion and frustration. The impressive amount of harmony between guitar and drums complement each other to a very supreme extent. This song particularly progresses in a crescendo style, from clean to distorted guitar with vocals reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine.
“Marang” has a rather mature sound. Beautiful delayed guitar with passionate vocals delivered by Brandon, the song then opens to a wash of bright guitars with strong and direct drumming. The song progresses to a fast and powerful close very similar to Sonic Youth. Here we see a sense of malaise, not seen in the rock consciousness since the 1990s.
Track four is a chiefly extreme rock accolade entitled, “Ridlien Nights.” A quick and magnificent guitar riff with innovative verses, the song teases of a world once ruled by rock music. Showcasing pulsating drums and a fantastically structured bridge, RSP definitely shines within this dynamic. The song continues a masterful groove leading to complete transcendence in a breakdown so hard that the listener is blasted to a state of pure jubilance. RSP is no fabricated rock band, what the listener witnesses is an absolute genuine and artistic communication with magnificent prowess.
The next song, “She Shifts In Ways,” is an emotional release with a very mature characteristic. From the beginning of the song we hear Brandon and Josh exchanging a “hey” between each other, affirming the band’s friend-like quality—-a definite strong track on “Then” worth repeating over and over.
“Skindust” starts off with a crash of the cymbal, the song is characteristic of a climbing guitar line, rainfall percussion and eerily distant vocals. Brandon does a great job here evoking the perfect skill of vocal melody and guitar work.
Track seven is a soft and welcoming track entitled, “Join Me For Tea.” With watery chorus guitar and heartfelt lyrics, we are seeing a local group mature before the eyes of those who have been following the band during their 10+ year career. With track eight entitled, “24/7 Friends” we are met with an arena attitude, the sound of this song is huge. Thunderous drums provided by Josh Phillips drive the song over delayed guitar and strong lyrics. A very spirited song with a gigantic sound, proving the strength of RSP is immense. The song ends with erupt feedback reminiscent of the end to “Stay Away” by Nirvana.
“She Wears A Tux” showcases an online dating occurrence going completely wrong. Cheery drums mark the song, and the listener is also greeted with RSP’s tongue-in-cheek social commentary humor. Track 10 is an abrasive head-banger tune called “Yar” starting with barbaric stomping drums hit brutally hard and with stunning precision. The final track is a reprise of “Don’t Forget To High Five Me, Man” featuring the same lyrics over heavier music accompaniment. A song serving as an utmost outstanding anthem, RSP is shown in their natural state with a great breakdown towards the end of the album, “Then” the incredible jamming skills both Brandon and Josh possess are highlighted.
RSP are on their game and made an ingenious album capturing a very significant moment in music history for Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. There is going to be a resurgence of alternative music flowing from Philly, and the potential has been placed by the help of RSP. From back to front “Then” is an incredibly worthwhile listen, a phenomenally strong record. Brandon and Josh have done an amazing job painting a portrait of the current state of rock and roll.