With a sound sweeter than your mother's Christmas cookies, Revolush offers a respite from the usual bar band experience. With a concoction of powerful hooks and rock and roll sensibilities, the band is an intriguing addition to Milwaukee's rock scene.
"Glenn (Moncatch, drums) and I were in a different band," explains bass player CD Smid. "Bill (Reuter, guitar) was playing in a cover band with my uncle. When we quit, we talked with Bill and said, 'Let's hook up and see what happens.'"
What happened was a year of gigs, with Reuter handling the vocal duties. But something was amiss. That something was lead singer Tommy Hahn, back in Milwaukee after performing theater professionally in Chicago.
"He was doing solo acoustic shows," says Smid, "and we thought he was great. So he joined the band."
The band played out with Hahn and gradually got used to each other. In the summer of '05, Revolush got down to business. With Shorewood-based producer David Vartanian manning the controls, the guys recorded "Crystal Method Actors," their debut album.
On "Actors," the quartet serves up luxurious pop, as evident on "Ordinary Girl." The layered vocals of Hahn shine on this one, as he has the ability to harmonize with Reuter's fretwork. On the raucous "Hoot 1000," Revolush reveals they can bring the rock, as well. Reuter's lead work sizzles, and fits perfectly with the foot-stomping chorus. And with "California Rain," Reuter shows why he is the band's principle lyricist and songwriter.
"Songs can come from anywhere, but on this one, I played a joke," says Reuter. "I tried to make each word relate to the previous one, but out of context. 'Cow-boys-club-sandwich' is cowboys, boys club, club sandwich."
Having a primary songwriter in a band can be a tricky situation. But Revolush seem comfortable with the set up, even thrive off it.
"Bill is really the mastermind," says Hahn. "I take the vocal lines from him as he wrote them. It's a very easy process."
Besides writing and recording, the band has a great time playing live. "My favorite song to perform is 'The Dream,'" says Hahn, "but you have to come to the show to see that one, it's not on the record. Any chance that I have to scream, I'm a happy kid."
Why should Milwaukeeans venture out to see Revolush? "We have good songs performed with passion, and high standards we live up to. And we're fun," says Reuter.
Hahn has a slightly different take. "There is an untapped resource of original music in this town. We may even raise the bar a little bit. We're a tried and true rock and roll show."
As for what the future holds, Revolush want to keep creating music. They have a new batch of songs written, but will promote "Crystal Method Actors" first. "I hope to have a big stack of Revolush CDs in my collection," says Hahn.
"I would love to make a living playing in this band," says Reuter.
Revolush will rock Mad Planet Feb. 4 at 9:00 p.m. The Melismatics and Dark Horse Project open the show. "Crystal Method Actors" is available at Atomic Records and the Exclusive Company, and their Web site is revolush.com.