San Francisco-based psych rock collective Revolushn is made up of 12 active members who are spread across the country, from the East Coast (New York City) to the West Coast through the Midwest. They released at the beginning of 2016 the album The Freshman, made up of nine tracks that explore an interesting array of sounds.
Most of the songs on this LP can be filed under rock, with a couple of them featuring flavours from other genres. “Suck It Up” and “Kansas City” are rockers, both of them electric guitar and drum-driven. “Suck It Up” is an up-tempo, energetic, and irreverent beginning to the album which will set many a foot tapping. The mid-tempo “Kansas City” features some very flirtatious-sounding vocals, at times bordering on seductive.
“Dark Matter”, which mixes in some pop, is mellow and relaxing, featuring the kind of melody that you sway your head to without even realising it. Added to the expected electric guitars and drums is a piano; the vocals have been altered in such a way that they seem to be coming from a far away place, giving the whole thing a slight psychedelic feel. A touch of country is put on the mid-tempo “Been Thinking” and on “Martian Shanty Town”, with the latter having a certain Old Western feel to it (be ready to have the image of tumbleweeds running across a desert float randomly in your mind while you are listening to it). The collective also mixes in a dance music feel in the very up-tempo “Scarlett”, which is led by both percussion and keys.
Folk music also makes an appearance in The Freshman. Starting with an acoustic guitar opening, the slow tempo ballad “Higher” is very simply built—vocals, strings, gentle percussion, and backing vocals—which comes as a big contrast to all the other songs on the album. The mid-tempo “Alien Polka” opens up with an electronic sound typically found in B-movies with an alien ship landing, and it also features an accordion (of course).
The hip-hop feel in the mid-tempo “Vulcan Love Song” makes it a standalone track. It features distorted chanting followed by distorted singing, perhaps to reflect the contrast between the normal way Vulcans are and the way they lose control during their mating season. It makes for, along with the other tunes on The Freshman, an interesting listening experience that cannot be clearly categorized.