Album Review: Riverboat Gamblers – “Smash/Grab”

Clocking in at just a hair over eight minutes in total length, the Riverboat Gambler’s “Smash / Grab” is a hard, fast piece of gritty punk rock, as ferocious as it is brief. If you’re “in the know,” you realize this album came out (via Paper + Plastick Records) in July. As usual, I’m shamefully late to the party.

Album opener “Anything But You” is probably the hardest and fastest of the bunch, and is also the album’s shortest track at 1:09. “Maggie Lea” finds the Gamblers expertly combining a heavily distorted rhythm with a psycho-billy infused lead riff. “Parasite Friend” is lower in tempo, and sounds more like an indie, garage rock song from the early part of last decade. Think The Strokes or Jet on this one. “The Ol’ Smash and Grab” closes things off in a similar style to “Parasite Friend,” though if the latter track were run through a dirty blues (Black Keys, etc) filter with a “consume/devour/ingest/expel” chorus and a solo that would make Mike Ness proud.

I’m normally not a fan of EPs as a general rule (they are either four filler songs that couldn’t make a prior release or way too short and should have comprised part of a full-length), but “Smash/Grab” has quickly become one of my favorites of the year.

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