From the get-go, Welcome Home establishes Red Collar’s infectious brand of up-tempo rock and roll with tenacity and a working-class spirit. Known for their energetic live show that blurs the line between performer and audience, the Durham, North Carolina based band does well to translate that intensity onto a recorded format. Formed by the duo of Jason and Beth Kutchma, Red Collar is the product of passion, determination and similar ideals blending into a hard-hitting package of solid rock with a southern tinge that conjures images of heat, sweat, and all-around good times.
Welcome Home starts off incredibly strong, with the gruff vocals of Kutchma leading the band into the opener “Orphanage” while drummer Jonathon Truesdale keeps everything in time. From there they keep the pace going with tight musicianship and urgent delivery, bouncing from track to track without hesitation. Things slow down a bit with the crooner “This House” before jumping straight back into the previous pace with “Dodge K,” a frantic song with a strong bass line that you’d be hard pressed not to dance to. The latter half of the album continues on much the same, not straying from the formula of the first few songs. “Losing My Accent” is easily the most forgettable track on the album before closing out with the title track, a theatrical and dramatic conclusion which ties everything together nicely.
Red Collar build on an already well-traveled foundation of rock and roll with their own style that brings to mind classic predecessors such as Springsteen and Seger, as well as contemporary bands like Fake Problems and Titus Andronicus. Uttering lines such as “no, I don’t know what becomes of life – I don’t know anything at all” with conviction and honesty, Kutchma proves himself to be a strong vocalist who’s more than capable of leading the band to new heights. With an air of sincerity that allows them to tread into the working-class brand of southern rock, amongst a certain punk edge and unhindered melodic capabilities, Red Collar do well in carving their own spot into an ever expanding musical landscape. Despite the lack of anything particularly fresh, Welcome Home is a solid album and a great means of escape from the summer heat.
7.0 / 10
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