Let’s face it, there are only twelve tones in the Western musical scale and a finite number of ways said notes can be strung together to form a melody. With some basic understanding of exponents and probability, I’m sure we could calculate the likelihood of various phenomena, but that would probably just bore us all to tears. But even without reaching for my graphing calculator, I know that Rye Coalition’s Curses is a statistical anomaly: These boys should be playing the lottery rather than rock ‘n’ roll.
I see no need to belabor this, so I’ll give you a track-by-track rundown of which bands (both legendary and somewhat unknown) Rye Coalition mimics, imitates, and in some cases, outright steals from on Curses. (I have included links to MP3s for comparison purposes; in all cases, the Rye Coalition song appears (in its unadulterated form) first.)
1) “Pussyfootin'”: disappointing attempt at Bad Wizard’s “Barefootin’ Man“
2) “Burn the Masters”: Tender is the Savage-era Gluecifer sans the snarl
3) “Cigarette Catastrophe”: eerily similar to C’Mon’s “This Is Your Captain”
4) “Young Yellers”: AC/DC riffs with David Lee Roth on vocals
5) “Clutch the Pearls”: same elocution as Hardcore Superstar’s “Not Dancing,
Wanna Know Why?”
6) “Secret Heat”: Van Halen’s “Panama” with Scott Weiland on vocals
7) “True Love by the Hour”: Theatre of Pain-era Mötley Crüe mélange
8) “Tequila Mockingbird”: an Alice Cooper song with Paul Stanley from “Do You
Love Me” on vocals
9) “Between An I-ROC & A Hard Place”: .38 Special + Led Zeppelin
10) “Vietnam Veterinarian”: copped Datsuns arrangement
11) “Cocaine Werewolf”: sub par B-Movie Rats imitation
12) “Achilles’ Wheelchair”: revved up “Achilles Last Stand” (duh)
If the members of Rye Coalition had at least done a masterful job of impersonating their muses, we could call Curses a tribute album. Sadly, they fail even in that. The Village Voice called Curses a throwback to the hard rock of Led Zeppelin and the MC5, but the album’s lifeless production (courtesy of Peter Principle devotee Dave Grohl, back when the band was supposed to release this record on Interscope) firmly entrenches it in the 1980s alongside other rehashers such as Rhino Bucket. And might I remind the m embers of Rye Coalition that if they intend on proclaiming “ready or not, we’re gonna make a scene/ turn this mutha out, gonna make you scream,” they better deliver.
Let’s hope the band members have an intellectual property attorney on retainer, because although derivative works are considered copyrightable, I have a feeling they’ll be receiving calls from a lot of maligned artists. If they need a quasi-expert to testify, I’m available at very competitive rates.