The Rebel Set release gloom

Photo by Jon B, via flickr

Junette Reyes/Entertainment Director

The Rebel Set have found themselves in the crypt with their reverb-drenched album titled “How to Make a Monster.”

Released this month, “How to Make a Monster” is the Phoenix, Arizona natives’ fifth album since their formation in 2007. “How to Make a Monster” continues the surfer rock/surfer pop vibe that can be heard in The Rebel Set’s music in recent albums “Poison Arrow” and “Nightmare,” released in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Still, “How to Make a Monster” is not a direct continuation of the sounds established in “Poison Arrow” and “Nightmare” and instead shows off more of the gloomy, moody side of The Rebel Set; while, the previous two maintained the upbeat vibe associated with surfer rock/surfer pop.

An upbeat tempo is still very much present in “How to Make a Monster,” however; dark undertones distort the sound in such a way that an atmosphere of gloom and doom is present. The vocals are muffled and mostly unintelligible. An organ is also present throughout every song in varying degrees and is what I believe adds a sinister hint to the music.

The first track titled “Riddle Me This,” for example, exemplifies this best, as a heavy organ is present throughout.

 The gloom is almost comical, though, as it reminds me of the kind of music that would act as the theme to “The Munsters” or any similar show that would feature classic horror characters such as Dracula or Frankenstein’s monster. Were it an actual genre, I would label it as “Monster Rock.” Especially the track titled “Planet Katey,” which is a mostly instrumental track with the exception of a piercing female shriek that can be heard several times throughout the song.

The Rebel Set is comprised of frontman and guitarist Joe Zimmerman, drummer Jeff Doing, organist Katey Trowbridge, and bassist Brandon Goehner.

The Rebel Set cites Link Wray as one of their influences. This can especially be heard in the fondness of the use of reverb on the guitars, such as in Link Wray’s “Rumble,” as well as the clear influence of surfer rock and rockabilly in their own material. They also cite The Ramones as one of their influences, which can mainly be heard in their more aggressive, punk-like songs on the album, such as “It’s Enough” and “Just a Rumor.”

Overall, I’d say “How to Make a Monster” is quite the enjoyable album and succeeded in presenting the kind of atmosphere that would be expected of a release with such a title.

Final verdict: 4/5 

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