RIVERBOAT GAMBLERS, THE: To the Confusion of Our Enemies: CD

For people reading this zine well versed in the Gamblers, I offer this caution: don’t let the production throw you. Yes, it’s huge. No, it doesn’t sound exactly like Something to Crow About. Be patient and your rewards will be tenfold. For me, the Gamblers have pulled off a true rarity: they made a record that both sits neck and neck with their previous (one that many didn’t think could be topped); one that is both immensely personal, yet poised for a larger audience. After hearing this about sixty times so far, I’ve developed this theory: this is two records played at once. It’s two worlds, layered on top of one another. The obvious world: AC/DC. The inobvious world: Hickey, Rocket From The Crypt, Toys That Kill. The obvious: “Right! Right! Right! Hey! Hey! Hey!” stomp rock. The invobious: Dude, this record’s all about the loss of dead friends, the very real concerns of weighing artistic integrity, and of love—both tender and fangy. The obvious: arena, tall speaker stacks, lightning bolts. The inobvious: bedrooms, sickness, lullabies, self-doubt, courage, and headphones. I can’t think of the last record that seemed so touching to me on so many levels—these are gold-heart, long-running punk dudes playing revved-up rock’n’roll—that could be played on a worldwide stage. One of the best records of 2006. And it’s February. Mark it.

 –todd (Volcom)