We Review The New Album From The Reytons – What’s Rock And Roll?
Those kids off the estate are back and they ask the all-important question for The Reytons’ new album, What’s Rock And Roll?
The South Yorkshire indie rockers are back with their DIY sophomore record that continues their heavy direction of upbeat guitar riffs and everyday lyrical focuses. This time, The Reytons provide a much more solid album with better sound, structure, and overall variety.
Now there’s an obvious elephant in the room whenever addressing South Yorkshire bands of this indie sound and whilst What’s Rock And Roll reminisces a faithful time in 2006, The Reytons are here now in 2023 and they have a solid record.
One of the most striking factors about this record is that everything revolving around the album has been done independently. There has been no backing from a label and the band has announced a headline slot at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena as well as a pop-up store in shopping centre Meadowhall for one week. The whole independent approach and the self-made album really pull at the working class background and song familiarity that the song themes approach. The Reytons are no doubt one of the most genuine bands in the scene right now and they’re doing it their way.
After their debut album Kids Off The Estate reached number 11 in the UK charts, the group has seen over a million streams on Spotify and an upcoming sold-out tour. With the raucous audio and lyrics mixed with their dedication, you can only assume things will get bigger and better for a few lads from Rotherham.
The Reytons delve into themes of familiarity and relevance from subjects of love, relationships, and sex, to children, the internet, fame, and money. The worlds and environments created by the band such as social clubs, estates, and varying social media reflect comfortably and engagingly to their fanbase and beyond where we can all see someone or know someone based on the lyrical story.
The opening track 15 Minutes In The Algorithm is an explosion of speedy guitars, thick bass guitars, and bouncing notes. The lyrics highlight the internet-age obsession of trying to become famous online through its fast-moving influx of content that easily sees someone disappear as quickly as they trended. The bass guitar thumps away alongside the floor tom before bursting into a melodic vocal-centric chorus which listeners will find continuously throughout the album.
Istanbul tackles the subject of body-altering science and the lengths people go to alter their appearance on the cheap traveling to places like Istanbul for botox and new breasts. The bass guitar and drums dance around each other once more but in a much more invigorating style and the verses match high energy with galloping rhythms. It’s a snappier track, short and sweet, and explodes into the following track, Avalanche.
Like its name, the burst of instrumentation feels like a huge impact. The chorus engulfs the verse riff with a higher tempo and cavalcade of synth additions. The harmony of vocals is rich and breaks away from a stereotypical ‘putting on a northern accent’, the vocal variety from The Reytons can easily bounce back from thick Yorkshire verses to sweet harmonised choruses that capture the magic indie music in the UK once had.
Love In Transaction which is probably one of the funniest track titles you’ll see this year tackles the subject of a relationship between two people where one party is the spender and the other enjoys all the luxuries life has to offer. The track is fast clean guitars with continuous drumming that almost feels like fast cars on a long stretch of road; happily reflecting the tongue-in-cheek themes of spending. It’s a subject of people who could be easily judged, almost like looking up at a glass ceiling, but the track concentrates on the couple themselves who seem content with their lifestyle. That chorus will be stuck in your head all day.
Little Bastards is a much more gritty juxtaposition to the previous track concentrating on the subject of bastards and the lack of support from society, especially in working-class backgrounds. It’s basically if Jeremy Kyle was a song, it highlights the poor teaching in sexual education which then sees later consequences that build up upon one another. The vocals dominate the track with sharp-tongued presentation and ferocious overdriven guitars that explode into the bridge with a slick solo and an overall tempo that hasn’t given up throughout the album.
Cash In Hand & Fake IDs is a much more gentle approach with jangly guitars that break into singular chord notes. The song is a warm verse with sweet vocals into a 2000s indie chorus that would make your dad cry with nostalgic tears. It’s an engaging track in a different way from their previous ones on the album, it’s the anthem of the album with themes of love and failure but with aspirations at the same time. It comes as a nice midway change throughout the album with a sonically pleasing combination of guitar layers.
WMC brings back the bouncing tempo in the guitars and drums, but the vocals are rawer in the verse with slight echoing giving the feeling the group recorded this track in the empty working men’s club they discuss. It’s a track for the everyday people and community that you will find in a village/town working men’s club. It’s a song of aging and good times and familiarity, a song of creature comforts. You could easily picture this scene and it is a track that captures working-class Britain perfectly. The guitars break into a juicy outro before tempos slow down once more.
One More Reason is a gentle verse with a jangly guitar that bursts into a steadier rhythm tempo from the additional instrumentation. It is the quote-on-quote ‘sad’ track on the album of self-reflection and self-improvement. The vocals are more centered and the overall impact of the instruments is stripped back but still so clean and sweet.
Monthly Subscription follows the story of two people. One is someone who has an online subscription account which has certainly grown in popularity over the years and is a great way for people to make money. For just £5 you can see it all, but the female in question doesn’t care because she’s making a great life for herself. For the guy in question, he’s running up debt with subscriptions and there’s free content on social media as well. It’s a chorus-heavy piece with catchy and clever lyrics, notable throughout What’s Rock And Roll? It’s one of the most sensible approaches to the influx of sexual-focused subscriptions and discusses the benefits.
Fading’s sound fits nicely to its track where the overall sound feels distant in the track and the vocals melt into the screaming guitar leads. The bass and drums are steady and this feels like the breather before the end. A track of desperation is one of the most emotional pieces written by The Reytons and is a very sonically different piece for the record. It’s certainly not the most striking piece here on the record but highlights the different directions the band allows their sound to go in.
It’s A Fuck About sounds as crass as its title. It’s short with bouncing punk riffs and racing tones from the guitars that sound uncomfortable and messy. Perfect short song. Uninvited is the ferocious conclusion with thick drums and bass like the track opener.
The guitar riff in the break is intense and the low notes match the anger in the lyrics. It is another punk track in its high-tempo energy and captures the rawness and northern distaste felt throughout the album. It sums up The Reytons as a band that will no doubt explode more onto the scene this year and this reviewer wants more intensity in those guitar riffs.
This reviewer has silently watched The Reytons from the sidelines since the release of their 2017 EP ‘Slice Of Lime’ and it is quite something to see where that band has gotten to it looks like things will only get better for the do-it-yourself indie-rockers. What’s Rock And Roll? Is a great collection of indie rock stylings of high-tempo and crowd-engaging styles with very clever wordplay. We’re only in the first month of 2023 and we’ve already been treated to one of the best UK indie albums in years, a much better piece of work than their first record and signs of a band who have really found themselves and their music writing abilities.
People will whine and cry that bands change their sounds and never return to it and people why whine and cry that a band sounds too much like a previous one. The Reytons capture this generation greatly and whilst you could sit and cry that a certain Sheffield band won’t return to their old sound, you have The Reytons right there in the here and now with a healthy variety of indie rock.