If you’re a fan who has been feeling like hard rock needs a hero this Christmas more than ever, you’re not alone. In the last decade, rock has struggled to maintain its rough and tumble identity, but that doesn’t stop Amalgaband from getting back to the basics of the genre in their new single “Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio Christmas.” From the moment we get started in this song, there’s a familiar grind that brings to mind the blue-collar aesthetic of The Replacements, signaling not necessarily a virtuous perception of what rock music is supposed to be, but an idealized concept of what it could be when there aren’t any overarching commercial qualities getting between the players and their target audience. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio Christmas” makes a strong case for a return to the righteous grind of alternative rock’s dirtier era, but more important than this, it affords us a look at a seriously gifted group of players in Amalgaband.
The guitars in this track and its music video are gushing with distortion, but they don’t come off as being overindulgent beside the other elements here at all. On the contrary, everything in “Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio Christmas” has a certain grandiosity that feeds the seemingly uncapped emotional heartbeat powering the lyrics here. The griminess of the guitars makes it so that even the instrumental half of this song feels poetic on some surreal level, which has been a bit of an issue among the stripped-down minimalist rock I’ve been reviewing in the last couple of months. Amalgaband isn’t into predictability, and that’s made more than a little obvious in this new single.
The music video for “Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio Christmas” definitely does everything necessary to underscore the holiday lyrical theme preexisting in the song. The words, and their adjacent instrumental harmonies, capture the bulk of our attention no matter what our means of consuming them may be, eliminating the very notion of aesthetical fat from the get-go here. Despite the trends a lot of their underground rivals are following in 2022, Amalgaband is interested in cultivating their own brand of post-grunge destruction in their output, and that deserves a lot of credit on its own.
There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding this crew, and I must say that it’s easy to see why when giving “Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio Christmas” even a cursory spin. Amalgaband is putting something on the market that almost none of their peers have in the last couple of years in this single, and though it wears its influences on its sleeve without shame, it feels like a tribute to something much bigger than the holiday referenced in its title; if nothing else, it’s a glimpse into a post-winter season that rock has been desperate to find for some time now. These guys are on a mission to gut the rock and roll genre of its artificial faceting, and if you ask me, they’re off to a mighty good start with the release of “Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio Christmas” and its stellar music video.
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