The Rolemodels / Sister Mary Rotten Crotch - "Wrecked"
Hooligan Empire Records

Upon glancing at El Torreon's concert calendar, one would assume that The Rolemodels are a local band. They play there that often. However, they're not. They're actually from Chicago, which I suppose would make them regional. Anyhow, they've played El Torreon enough times to get them sponsored by Hooligan Empire, and they've put out this split CD with Kansas City's Sister Mary Rotten Crotch.

It's a phenomenal CD, too. Kansas City and Lawrence have always been breeding grounds for some excellent punk rock. Just the short list of the Micronotz, Main Street Saints, Bubble Boys, Tanka Ray, The Primetime Heroes, etc., is enough to demonstrate that fact.

However, it's Sister Mary Rotten Crotch that's currently leading the KC longevity race. Going through more lineup changes than Kill Creek has had drummers, taking time off for pregnancy, and a full-length that's been delayed longer than most bands in this area exist, one thinks the band would have given up the ghost. Thankfully, they haven't, because then we wouldn't have this CD.

The Rolemodels have the first five songs, in a punk style that falls somewhere between The Supersuckers' rock and roll and The Business' streetpunk. The first tune, "Road Less Traveled," is a raucous number that hits all the right notes on the rebellion scale, with a shouted "You can't change me!" repeated throughout the song. Every song has its crowd sing-along, actually, ranging from "Road Less Traveled" to "Stories" and its refrain of "Tellin' stories, tellin' secrets, you're tellin' lies again, now..."

The songs of The Rolemodels have a great energy to them, with a driving bassline, propulsive drums, and head-nodding guitars. The first time I listened to "Wrecked," I was driving down I-70 at 11pm. This is what their songs perfectly bring to mind - 75 miles an hour, late at night, singing along at the top of your lungs.

My only complaint about The Rolemodels' songs is that "26th Street" sounds so much like the Anti-Heros' "Disco Riot" that it borders on plagiarism. The bassline is nearly identical, and even the song's story of fighting in the street is similar. Other than that, their songs are produced amazingly well, and their half of the disc sounds fantastic.

Sister Mary Rotten Crotch's half is less produced, which makes sense, as it was recorded in guitarist Alison Saunders' home. However, this seems to have captured the energy of Sister Mary playing live, something that has been missing from their recordings since the group's debut seven-inch. The recording also gives the songs an old-school feel, like you were listening to a remastered Naked Raygun or Bad Brains LP.

Despite the lessened production, Sister Mary's songs sound phenomenal. The guitar intro to "Mr. Right" sounds amazingly crisp and clear, and grabs your attention immediately. The vocals on "Polaroid" start in a muddy whisper at first, but build and build until Liz Nord's recognizable vocals erupt in an indignant yell.

The bands on this split were matched perfectly. The whole album blows by quite quickly with speed and energy, and both bands have enough sing-along choruses to fill several albums. There's a certain cohesiveness in the songs, as well. The Rolemodels present a list of society's problems, while Sister Mary Rotten Crotch seems to have the violent solution.