If you’re looking for a quick introduction to Milwaukee’s Rexxx, look no further than “Rock N Roll,” the penultimate track of the band’s new nine-song record, Pure Pleasure II. Is it a shout-along rock and roll song about the power of rock and roll? Yes it is. Is it a song that lodges itself in your brain after just one listen? Yes it is. Is it a song that does its thing in fewer than two minutes? You better believe it.
Rexxx is a Milwaukee supergroup of sorts, featuring Zach Otto and Harrison Colby (both of Sex Scenes), Sam Reitman and Ryan Reeve (both of Surgeons In Heat), and Jesse Buskov (King Eye & The Squirts). Hatched by roommates Otto and Colby during a series of “pizza-and-songwriting” nights, the group eschews Sex Scenes’ hardcore sound for a more power-pop, bubblegum approach. On a national level, there’s more than a little MC5 and New York Dolls coursing through Rexxx’s veins; on a local level, the band falls somewhere between the good-times party-rock of Platinum Boys and the CBGB-channeling punk of Indonesian Junk.
The winning “Can’t Help It” opens Pure Pleasure II with an irresistible guitar riff and a good ol’ fashioned “WHOA-OH” chorus. It’s a big, bold, and unapologetically boisterous rock and roll anthem, the sonic equivalent of a sweaty (but welcome) bear hug. Elsewhere, “Hit N Run” scores points as the album’s darkest/funniest song (“Take your car and run me over / Living with you is some kind of torture”), single “Lost Cause” bops its head again and again and again, “4 Miles From Home” slows things down for a slinky and surprisingly soulful respite, and closer “Animal” blows the roof off the dump with a sustained roar (and a winking fade-out and fade-in). Also, there’s a terrific song called “Fuccboii.”
Recorded at Silver City Studios by Josh Evert, and mastered at Mystery Room Mastering by Justin Perkins, Pure Pleasure II is a perfect quick-hit of rock/power-pop goodness. It never overstays its welcome. It delivers what it promises. It’s the first great Milwaukee rock record of 2020.
Rexxx will celebrate the release of Pure Pleasure II February 14 at Cactus Club (with support from Radkey, Fire Heads, DaveKevinAdam, and J Woods). Before that, the band will play a free-to-attend 414 Live session February 13 at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. Listen to “Lost Cause” and “4 Miles From Home” now, and buckle up for the rest of Pure Pleasure II tomorrow.