By Ryan O’Connell
Hometowns create two kinds of people- those who stay and those who leave. The two members of Revolution, I Love You chose to leave their hometown. They chose to leave an area in Delaware that they never considered rural until someone considered it rural for them. That someone is in Philadelphia, which is where the band moved to a little over a year ago.
Philadelphia- surrounded by the wilds of Pennsylvania, the tax-free lifestyle of Delaware and the enigmatic free for all of southern New Jersey, is the kind of city that draws folks in. It brings folks like Rob Lindgren and Jason Reynolds, the two lone members of Revolution, I Love You- two gentlemen, self-described as bookish, who in their non-rocking hours are peddlers of windows and doors at two area home improvement super stores. For college, one went down to Towson University in Towson, Maryland and one went to University of Delaware- yet neither one finished- opting instead for music. They both agreed that school just wasn’t working.
It is just the two of them in Revolution, I Love You. A person would have to have the golden voice of Ronnie Spector to make them even consider expanding their lineup. Revolution, I Love You lives together, up in grumpy old Roxborough, in an apartment that has walls they lined with carpets they bought on sale. Practice is logistically harder in the city, much harder than out in that rural area of Delaware where they came from. Their apartment is their laboratory- not just a place to live. It is merely not only a practice space, but a recording studio. The band is working feverishly on their second album, “We Choose to Go to the Moon,” named after a line from a President John F. Kennedy speech, with the hopes of releasing it later this spring. Their first album was “Noise Pop Death Ray”- a phrase that became a descriptor for Revolution, I Love You. It served as an easily accessible answer to every young band’s toughest question: what kind of music do you play.
Revolution, I Love You was a phrase made popular in France in 1968, when it was written on city walls, along with other Marxist writings. Lindgren admits, while sitting in a coffee shop with a book of essays on Russian Literature sitting on the table, that he and Reynolds “are kind of bookish.” Lindgren’s interest in philosophy partially drives his and Reynolds’ vision of what they want their band to be. Revolution, I Love You is deconstructed pop music- a breakdown of the music of Costello and the Boss and Phil Spector sucked through a rusty filter of industrialized, hipster dance music. It is dirty purity- sweet, yet not at all simple.
The elements of traditional pop are there- the harmonies and smooth melodies. The songs that Revolution, I Love You write start out simply enough, maybe some guitar and/or piano accompanied by vocals. But then, as Lindgren says with a smile, it gets all messy. It gets destroyed and ravaged with bleeps, squeaks and drones- massaged by programmed drumbeats and fuzzy guitar loops.
“We have a penchant for sound,” Lindgren admits.
Reynolds and Lindgren have become scholars of pop music after growing up listening to Iron Maiden, Guns ‘n Roses, and progressive rock and according to Lindgren, spend many late nights on the couch, immersed in Jameson-fueled discussions about what it is exactly that makes music good.
Revolution, I Love You isn’t natural music. It’s not straight from the soul to you music. It’s straight from the dome with a sharp left turn through the knobs of electronics, eventually showing up at your doorstep hours later looking beaten up, bruised, confused, and looking for a hug.
How on Earth then, do Revolution, I Love You play a live show without breaking the bank on ringers and any other additional musicians they can find? Their set lists must look like football playbooks.
Lindgren says that Revolution, I Love You will try to build their sets in the same way a DJ would. In short, they are not ones for requests. Each member has a table in front of him. Lindgren’s has a loop station and a programmer on it, while Reynolds’ has a large keyboard on his. Both of them play guitar and both sing- Lindgren handling lead vocals and Reynolds backing him up.
“It’s just us two and programming,” Lindgren says.
Whether it’s choosing to go to the moon or noise popping a death ray, it’s ultimately Revolution, I Love You- a penchant for sound, knobs, and Jameson. It’s modern day pop music. The future is here and the walls are carpeted.