Friday, June 30, 2023

Jagger Holly - Rivoltella

A pop-punk double album may seem a little excessive. But in the hands of Jagger Holly, it's excessively awesome. Out now on Monster Zero, OUTLOUD!, Memorable But Not Honorable, and Hey Pizza! Records, Rivoltella is the best pop-punk full-length to be released since, uh well, the last Jagger Holly album! The Austrian trio has really outdone itself on its third proper album. A double album within the pop-punk world is not entirely unprecedented (The Suitesixteen pulled it off quite spectacularly), but it's quite rare. What pleases me about Rivoltella is that it doesn't try to be anything more than a great pop-punk record (or, to be more accurate, two great pop-punk records). Jay Dee sticks to what he does best: writing perfect pop songs with gigantic hooks and heartfelt lyrics. And for this release, he fully splits singing and songwriting duties with the equally talented Matt DeeCrack. Rivoltella isn't some indulgent rock opera or failed descent into experimentation. It's simply a super-sized work of masterful pop-punk. Remarkably for a 29-track release, it maintains a high level of quality all the way to the end. And it manages to run for nearly an hour without wearing out its welcome. In no way would I have recommended trimming this down to a single LP. There would be too many essential songs to cut, and honestly this album works perfectly at this length. 

As you would expect from a pop-punk album this epic, Rivoltella touches upon just about every sub-style within the genre. Some songs are super poppy. Others are fast and snotty. Some are heavily Ramones-inspired. A few lean towards power pop. A few have a foot in rock and roll. The band nails all of it. This is an album steeped in the classic tradition of '90s pop-punk, yet it shows how this sound can remain current and vital well into the 21st Century. There are some obvious hits like "Summer Sun," "Good To You," "Baby, It's You," "Keep Dreaming," and a terrific cover of Exploding White Mice's "Out of My Head." Yet the deep cuts prove to be just as rewarding. How many bands wish they could write one song as good as "Can't Stop"? "True To You" has got to be the best track 29 on any album ever! 

What do you do if you're stuck at home in the middle of a pandemic lockdown? If you're the guys in Jagger Holly, you write songs. And if you write enough good songs, why stop at a single album? The harder part for Jagger Holly was more likely getting all these tracks recorded — which required visits to many studios in multiple countries and tremendous perseverance in the face of illnesses, canceled travel plans, and numerous other disruptions. After all that, it doesn't seem like giving Rivoltella an hour of your time is an unreasonable ask. Sometimes more is more!

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