RTB2 - The Both of It

by Richie Sullivan on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:53 AM
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RTB2 The Both of It

RTB2 is a duo from Denton, TX.  The Both of It (2007) is their debut album.

It seems like the population of two-piece rock bands is getting pretty crowded, so what I’m about to say is bound to be met with some incredulity.  RTB2 is the best two-piece rock band around right now.  The Both of It is their first and only recording to date, so it’s fair to suspend final judgment.  But if RTB2 gives us, say, two more albums of similar caliber, they would surpass even the status of a certain Detroit pair and Ryan Thomas Becker would launch straight to the top of my all time favorite songwriters.

It’s impossible for me to overstate the excellence of The Both of It, because it does so many things well.  It was tracked live over a period of two spring days in 2007.  Given RTB2’s penchant for spontaneity, any longer probably would have incurred their second-guesses and ruined it altogether.  The album boasts wall to wall hooks, but never lulls into predictability.  Ryan hits notes I didn’t know existed, like invisible half steps, making music seem brand new.    He contorts his bare-bones electric into alien chords, perpetually set at the breaking point between harmony and cacophony.  Ryan Thomas’s voice sounds like the ghosts of a hundred bluesmen summoned up from the Texas dust.  The poetry is such that it’s both precise and universal, thoughts and dreams of leaky bucket love, shoe-box letters, and the strange calm of breathing your last gasp.  It’s a tightrope trick only the true alchemists of verse can pull off.

The real treat is that RTB2 executes this perfectly unpolished tome without a hint of self-consciousness.  Anyone who has met either of the personalities behind RTB2 can attest that they are nothing if not refreshingly humble.  The score then: RTB2 is a genuine Texas rock, blues duo, apt with verse, light on production, heavy on vocal energy, lacking all pretenses.  Pretty much rounds out my wish list.

RTB2 - "Need/Want (Part IV)" - Live Video


Label: Special Sessions Recordings

Track Listing:

1. You Are Golden When You Walk

2. Broken Treeline

3. Your Name Stays in My Throat

4. Abner

5. Need/Want (Part IV)

6. Beta Crush

7. He Only Car

8. My Butterfly Collection

9. Throat

10. The Spilling Blood Child

11. Wishy Waltz

12. Bottle the Bees

13. Blues Train

14. Yer Fool's Suite




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