Let’s face it, punk is just fun. You can say whatever you like about it, and you may have some valid points. If you’re not into punk, do yourself a favor and go to a show, I think you’ll get it after then. Now that being said, I was very pleased when The Ramparts Rebel’s new self-titled album came across my… inbox. My first thoughts were along the lines of “This is the type of band I want to see live.”
That classic punk energy is there right from the start, but it’s a little less muddy, and a little more melodic. Right up my alley.
The Ramparts Rebel is a project from Trenton based singer/songwriter Joey Affatato (guitar, vocals). The band also includes Johnny Ott (guitar, vocals), Mikey Groch (bass), and D.T. Graves (drums). The album was released independently on July 30. Two tracks “Faults” and “Irene” were released as singles before the release, with “Brings Me Down” being the third single released in August.
3. By Her Side
4. The Rest Of Your Life
6. Brings Me Down
7. Honey, What Was Your Name?
So let’s get to the meat of it.
The Ramparts Rebel opens with “Bitch,” an energetic romp which immediately made me think of bands such as The Fratellis, and Mischief Brew. The song is about what seems to be an ex-lover (the titular bitch, as it were). While this is pretty common subject matter in almost any genre, it’s for a reason. It’s easy for anybody to relate to a spiteful relationship, and the song is just a lot of fun, making it one of my favorite on the album.
The second track “Faults” keeps the vibe going. It’s another high energy number. “I was head over heels, when you asked me to walk you home. I kissed your lips, and that was my fault.” Oh no. We’ve all been there right? Us guys have a nasty habit of misinterpreting the signs that we get from women. “Faults” is about the unfortunate memories that those embarrassing moments can bring, brooding over them, wishing they never happened. It couldn’t help but evoke some of my own painful romantic mistakes.
“By Her Side” slows things down a bit. It’s the first of a few solid ballads featured on the album. I’m a big fan of the way this one builds, musically. It starts simply, a clean guitar strumming a few chords and another hitting a simple melody. Then Affatato’s slightly raspy voice enters with lyrics about a girl who’s in a bad place in her life. The lyrics are about being there for somebody in a rough spot, continuing the trend of easily relatable words. The song then builds up with the addition of percussion, and distorted guitar. Eventually it culminates in a big powerful chorus, before fading out.
Okay I don’t want to be too long winded, or spoil all of the fun moments in the album for you so I’ll just talk briefly about some of my favorite tracks. The mandolin/guitar combo in “The Rest of Your Life” reminds me of Led Zeppelin’s classic “Going to California” but in terms of songwriting, it’s closer to a ballad you might hear on a Green Day album. “Emily” brings the energy back up, and is just another fun track. The closing track “Irene” is another fun one, but a bit more somber, and a great choice to end the album.
I reached out to the band for a quick quote, and singer Joey Affatato had this to say, “I'd definitely say it's something we're all very proud of and we hope everyone else digs it too! It's a record that pretty much sums up the last 8 years of my life whether it was heartbreak, anxiety, or depression. I hope it can be used as an outlet to anyone who is going through a hard time and needs the comfort that they're not alone.”
I think the album succeeds in its goal, and I wish these guys all the success in the world. You can listen to The Ramparts Rebel on Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes, and Apple Music. And you can catch Joey Affatato in his other band The Carousers on September 3 at the Boneyard in Atlantic City, and October 6 at The Brighton Bar in Long Branch NJ.