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XI (Eleven)This may be a product of my age— but when I hear the descriptor, “One-Man Band,” it conjures an image of a gentleman in a carnival-barker’s outfit with cymbals strapped between his knees, a squeeze-box-style accordion in his hands, a harmonica brace and a kick drum strategically placed before him. This certainly isn’t a sexy conception by any stretch.
With that said, the modern-day template for one-man bands is much more impressive. From Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails to Chris Carraba’s Dashboard Confessional and Bryce Avary’s The Rocket Summer, the conception of the one man wolf-pack is evolving as quickly as the technology is. Loop and sample pedals are also facilitating the realization of the dream of a single person creating a fully-crafted “group” sound on stage as well. With that said, the ultimate embodiment of this phenomenon occurs in the studio.
Enter multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter Matthew Lindblad and his creation Rebel Revive. If you’re looking for a prime example of the heights one man can reach solitarily composing and executing material, you need look no further. Matthew sings, writes, performs and produces all of the material for the project, furthermore functioning as the sole marketing force for the band as well. The dexterity this expresses is truly one of the more impressive aspects of his latest release, XI (the roman numeral for Eleven) which is set to see release this April.


Choice cuts: “Better Days”  “Like You Mean It”   “Skeletons”

After operating as the guitarist for the group New Years Day for a time, (sharing guitar duties with Jake Jones around the release of the groups’ The Mechanical Heart EP) Lindblad departed to fashion a project around his own material. Entering the studio with producer Colby Wedgeworth (The Maine, Josiah James, This Century, Lydia), Matthew’s initial effort is a seamless union of pop and rock that is sure to impress.
RebelXI is a shining example of the type of addictive songwriting that makes meth peddlers envious. This record has more hooks than a fishing expedition, melding melodic vocals, lush and layered harmonies and guttural growls in perfect proportion. The album’s style is spectacularly schizophrenic, interweaving the grating, heavier elements with pristine pop song-craft to forge a formidable first effort.
Matthew’s material is insightful, honest and inspired. The man wears his heart on his sleeve (as evidenced by the letter included in his press kit- that we proudly display at the bottom of the review), and it’s incredibly endearing.The lyrical content certainly distinguishes itself from the faux-sensitivity and feigned introspection found with many pop-rock or “emo” acts.
The sonic goulash present on XI feels like a beautiful marriage of the songwriting of Fall Out Boy, the aggression of Thursday and the vocal clarity of Cartel or Jimmy Eat World. The closest parallels I can draw is to The Fold’s This Too Shall Pass or Cartel’s Cycles as far as the exemplary merger of aggressive rock and pop. It’s an insanely listenable album, and will certainly attract a very healthy following for Mr. Lindblad.
This is certainly not to say that Matthew will be alone while basking in the adulation. He will be joined live by Gus Flaig (drums), and Chris Chavez (guitar/vocals) to facilitate touring in support of the record. Given the style of the times, there’s certain to be a considerable quantity of it in Matthew’s future. As he himself states in his letter, this is a grassroots project that he’s meticulously scripted from the ground up. His efforts have been considerable to this point, but they are just the beginning. However, it’s a small price to pay to facilitate standing at the fore-front of the movement to bring esteem and dignity back to the concept of the “one-man band.”
For fans of: The Fold, The Vanished, Cartel, New Found Glory, Neve, Edgewater

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