Review: Those Crosstown Rivals – Hell and Back

a0594296846_10Unabashed rock and roll is the best way to describe Hell and Back, the latest release from Lexington, Kentucky’s Those Crosstown Rivals.

Ideally split into two sides, the first four songs are the sound of a street fight through various circles of Hell; the second, a retelling of the first’s experiences and the comfort of coming out alive, albeit scraped and bruised. Not beholden to any one style or genre, Hell and Back crunches riff-heavy rock (“Hell and Back”), punk urgency (“Be a Man”) and country touches (“The Rain”), culminating in the fight-another-day anthem, “Blood, Sweat and Tears.”

Music as life blood is leached from songs like the cathartic “Six Strings” and “The Diary” with its references to Lucero and Neil Young. Paired with whiskey, music is a numbing salve for Those Crosstown Rivals, one that keeps the pain in check until scarred over into badges of honor for moments lived and survived.

As singer Bryan Minks boasts on “Look at Me” (originally released as a split 7″ with Arliss Nancy), “I chose that path / That you wouldn’t take,” leaving listeners with only one decision to make: which instrument — guitar or drums — will you air mime while banging your head and pumping your fists to Hell and Back.

Stream/purchase Hell and Back below.

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