The lo-fi sounds of newcomers The Rebel Set are etching their way through the woodwork to make their debut in Jan. 2014 with How To Make A Monster. Anyone familiar with the sounds of the Ramones or, dare I say, The Dead Kennedys, will find this group well in their search for a cross between the new and old.

True to the garage rock style, the band kicks off the record with “Riddle Me This,” a fast and classic punk rock track that is weighed down by a little too much static. While the band incorporates the reverberating sounds of surfer tunes fairly well and ignites that nostalgic part of the listener, the singer’s voice barely manages to break the mold and is mostly drowned out by the heavy distortion and feedback that runs all the way to the conclusion.

While the group does have an affinity for playing in a classic style, what does come through of the singer’s voice doesn’t blend well with the direction of the record. The vocalist’s voice feels too clean and disjointed when accompanied with the coarse and unrefined texture of the music.

Most of the music from start to finish follows a consistent pattern mainly focused on the classic ideals of garage and punk rock: Keep it short, fast, and rough as hell. Only “Old Heart” manages to break the three-minute mark, making for some quick and straight to the point tunes. This effectively assimilates to the design that the dawn of punk created for the genre, but features too few memorable hooks, and in the end, does little to stand out.

As far as garage rock goes, The Rebel Set hit the nail on the head when it comes to style, but the production value on How To Make A Monster takes away from that. With harsher vocalization and slightly less static noise, they might have an underground winner, but their debut falls short of kicking in the door just yet.

In A Word: Rough

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