It has been a couple years since The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus' first LP Don't You Fake It was released, and only a few months since the band fired their manager Steve Tramposch and made the decision to go the independent route. But despite this sudden change, what has remained constant is the band's fearless ability to write music that continues to define them. The Hell or High Water was released solely by the effort of the band members, and everything from the recording process to the promotion was done in a do-it-yourself fashion. And yet, the EP has a feel that doesn't reflect a band struggling to find air, but rather reflects a band that rises to the challenge of the moment.
The EP features a lot of the signature aspects of the band, but musically has much more finesse. The flow of the 7 songs is perfect, starting out with the upbeat "Casting the First Stone", and ending with "21 and Up", a song with more slump and less punch. A lot of bands, when releasing an EP, fall into the trap of just presenting a couple songs that might stand alone, but don't really have relation with each other. That is where Hell or High Water differs.
The vocals on this release are fairly impressive. The screaming and vocal harmonies fit the mood of the music, and though the bridge of "Don't Hate" has an awkward end to it, it recovers with a raw, unedited scream, perhaps purposefully to convey more emotion. The guitar work and drums are a staple, and nothing great in themselves, but have their shining moments. The gang vocals in combination with the vocal harmonies and subtle synthesizer work in "Will You Stand" are a testament to the band's ability to shine in various capacities of modern rock.
The band's main weakness is brought to the forefront in this album, in regards to lyrical content. Containing lines like "you tell me you love me, then you say you hate me" and "you can do you, cuz i'ma do me", it's easy to see that The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is writing and singing about the same issues they were 4 years ago. Although this is largely understandable considering the genre, it seems as a retrogression from their last LP Lonely Road , which lyrically explored other topics.
Overall, the EP asserts itself as just one more successful release by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and is a refreshing reminder to the music world that in the face of challenges, and over the test of time, a band can still pull off writing great music.
3. Don't Hate
4. Hell or High Water
5. Will You Stand
6. On My Own
7. 21 and Up
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is a pop rock band that was originally formed in 2003 in Middleburg, Florida, about 30 miles south west of Jacksonville. The current members of the band are Ronnie Winter, the lead vocalist, Joey Westwood, bassist, Duke Kitchens, guitarist, and Jon Wilkes, drummer, all of whom do back-up vocals.... read more