The Rebel Light / by E

       An indie rock trio from Los Angeles, The Rebel Light is comprised of two brothers from New York and their cousin from California (Alan Steil, Jarrett Steil, and Brandon Cooke). They released their self-titled first EP on November 13, 2012, recording the vocals in a bathroom and the drums in a woodshed and, while it features only three songs (the fourth song is simply a radio edit of the previous song), each song is great; plus, it's free on NoiseTrade.
       "My Heroes Are Dead" starts with some electronic beats before jumping into a full composition (including a sturdy chorus and guitar riff) before the first verse has begun. The composition is reminiscent of a good, early '90's, grunge that manages to sound urgent and dreamlike all at once. It's an irresistible sound and, with great lyrics like "I believe I've never been wrong, now I feel like I'm being misled", you can't help but fall into the song; plus, you have to love the juxtaposition between this song and the next one on the album. 
       "Goodbye Serenade" is probably the most addictive song I have heard this year, if only because, in a year when even the most popular artists seem to be reaching new levels of maturity and vulnerability, this song still manages to delve deeper and sound purer; the fact that "I couldn't hear what you said, falling apart at the seams" may be the best opening line I've heard in a while doesn't hurt it's potential for greatness, either. With a solid back beat, a trumpet that remains steady throughout (and crescendos only when it is needed to lift the composition [starting right before that three minute mark]), vocals that manage to sound scratchy yet clean, and good lyrics capable of evoking emotions in the listener (like "all of the reasons we make time..." and "I couldn't tell if you changed, or does the darkness remain". Not to mention the remarkable articulateness of a line like "it's not the notes that you play, it is the silence between"), it's hard not to love this song. The music video is awfully addicting, using hope, optimism, and everything you ever loved as it's central thesis, and I can't help getting sucked into it when seeing images of Falkor (The Neverending Story), Beatlemania, the Tiananmen Square protests, and Charlie Chaplin's first speaking role.
       "Wake Up Your Mind" is featured twice on the EP and has the conclusive sound that should be central to any good 'last song' on an album. The song sounds a little reminiscent of some of Muse's compositions (each track of the composition seems to have its own idea of the sound it aspires to create yet the tracks still manage to come together, in the end, to create a wandering composition that never loses focus, sticking to one main theme, throughout), just mixed with a little of that gritty rock sound. Aside from a great composition, lyrics like "what I'm feeling is just kept inside", "I can't walk away, hypnotized by endless shades of gray", and "your sacred ground has turned to ash and dust" make the song just good enough that, even with the strong competition created by the previous song ("Goodbye Serenade"), it can still stand out on this EP.
       Though it's not on the band's EP, "Cemeteries & Adversaries" is just as addictive as the band's alternate songs and contains more of that alternative rock sound heard in the composition of "Goodbye Serenade" (with little influence from the electronic indie rock featured on "Wake Up Your Mind" and "My Heroes Are Dead"). The vocals are clean, the composition is straightforward, and the lyrics are just as great as they are in every song.
        Check the band out in the links below and make sure to support them by donating what you can for their EP, available on NoiseTrade.
- E
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