Remember when there was subtlety in political and social discourse? Neither does LuciD. Raging against a world far, far down the “news with a narrative” rabbit hole dug by Fox News and its self-appointed competitors, the SGF rap-rock trio follows up its debut EP T.R.U.T.H. just a year later with its first full-length, On the Record. The double entendre is also the mood-setter: Not only are these 10 songs on the record—or the CD, anyway—but these are also the band’s definitive, we’re-not-taking-them-back comments about the state of life in America today. Buckle up, because they’re going to be that brash all the way through.
The band has grown its musical approach to go with its new, bigger pair of brass ones, too. Working at Red Room Studio in Arkansas, the producting tag team of Phil Taylor and John Lecompt brought a sound more full and more fierce out of the group. Where Jake Bollinger‘s guitar was more often a complementary piece on the previous record, it’s pushed to the forefront now, lower and more overtly metal in tone. The beats move the pace and tension up, as well, with Chris “Hazoh” Tilley (DJ Landon left the group late last year) adding some new production wrinkles to help fill out the sound. Not to be left behind, lyricist Kyle Colson leaves questions such as “Where the f*** is my song?” behind and starts tackling taboos—religion’s hollow condemnations (“Bible Belt”), political duplicity and incompetence (“Oblahblah”), the cultural dumb-down brought on by life imitating TV (“Rad Bro,” the lead single) and more. Think of him as the mic-wielding agent provocateur, out to incite any kind of reaction from his targets, even if it just amounts to pissing people off at times. If collars can be popped in anger, “Rad Bro” should make it happen. If political and “the party ends in hell” types had their own collars to pop, the rest of the songs would get them going, too. The one outlier in all this musical prodding is “Hindsight,” the lone relationship-oriented song and, though not bad, an awkward oasis from the righteous anger.
Finally, if the band’s sound blueprint makes one recall the Public Enemy-plus-Anthrax “Bring the Noise” more than the b-boy leanings of the first EP then think of “Rise Up” more like On the Record‘s “Fight the Power,” a generic-cause rallying cry reminding the listener that, no matter what a record, politician, religious fanatic with a sign or Jersey Shore wannabe tells you, the ability to make real change remains, now and forever, in your hands. If that’s the biggest takeaway then the album wins, but, regardless of whether you agree with its opinions or not, try to also enjoy a rap-rock band bringing more rap and more rock to the table and making an enjoyable album while not bringing the Limp Bizkits of the genre’s past to mind.