Rob Rule

Rob Rule

Mercury, 1994

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/20/2014

Rising from the ashes of the dearly departed Mary’s Danish, drummer James Bradley Jr., bassist Wag and guitarist Dave King hooked up with former Red Hot Chili Peppers roadie Robbie Allen as lead guitarist and unknown singer Edward Anisko and together, they formed Rob Rule. Breaking from Mary’s Danish’s schizophrenic sound, the band aimed for a more streamlined approach, which featured more straight rock and less experimentation.

The lead single, “She Gets Too High,” is a slow-burner of a track, building to its greatest point. Managing to achieve some radio success, it became the band’s calling card. A great Southern rock vibe permeates the whole album, mixing with a ‘90s alternative rock crunch that gave the band something distinctive to set them apart from the rest of the pack.

The harmony vocals on “Fifteen” hark back to ‘70s rock, which is a nice throwback to the past. The intricate balladry of “Around Again” should’ve set the band up as one of the ‘next big things’ but alas, it was not to be. The guitar interplay between Allen and King is very good but as this is a more restrained effort, bassist Wag doesn’t get to show off his mad skills as he had in Mary’s Danish.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Never” is one of the weaker tracks present here, but three out of eleven ain’t bad at all! “Free For The Moment” is more like it. This track is a showcase for everyone’s skills, more of a free-flowing rocker that brings the band’s intentions to the forefront. The absolute showstopper, however, is the ballad “Only Thing,” written by Wag; simply said, it’s one of those songs that stop the listener dead in their tracks! Many repeated listens later, the song still sounds fresh as ever and is guaranteed to bring a smile to anyone’s face who loves great music.

The production, courtesy of Don Gehman (best known for producing Mellencamp and Hootie & The Blowfish), packs all the right punches in all the right places and doesn’t sound dated, even twenty years later. That’s the sign of a great record: swift production, amazing musicians and some damn fine songs.

Unfortunately, towards the end of the record, the songs don’t have the same tight grip that others had. “Pass It On” and the useless cover of the Allman Brothers’ classic “Melissa” do nothing to make the album any better and would’ve been better to be left on the cutting room floor, confined to B-side heaven. “Chrome” brings the record back ‘round again, showcasing the guitars and Wag’s thunderous bass. Anisko’s voice, which sounds great all throughout the record, is soulful and gritty at the same time, perfectly suited for this type of material.

The band had everything ready for them; they with Mellencamp and Candlebox, but by 1995, they had fallen apart and they all drifted off to their own projects. This album has long been out of print but deserves to be brought into the digital realm like Spotify or iTunes so that more people can discover how great this band and their one lone record really was!

Rating: B-

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