Dustin Campbell has the kind of crisp, emotive pipes that could front any heavy commercial pop band currently plaguing the Internet. Fortunately, the frontman for Helena-based Tonight We Ride doesn't possess the kind of vapid vanity those bands usually do. Instead, Campbell puts his talent to good use: spinning seriously pretty vocals into rough-edged anthems and country-tinged punk ditties.
In Hell is amazingly tight. The title track begins with Western riffs perfect for intro credits to Quentin Tarantino pulp, before flying off into R&B-styled punk. "Other Side of the Wall (part 2)" is a fantastically sassy song and if I didn't know better I'd think it was straight off a Shooter Jennings album. But it's even more badass than that: Stray Cats' screams and devilish surf solos fire it up a notch from Jennings' restrained coolness.
I want to dislike the sea of "whoa whoas" and endless drawn-out vocal affect ("al-o-o-one," instead of just "alone," for instance), but the Mexican cantina bass and playful confidence of the trio's diverse tracks keep me on board no matter how melodramatic the ride gets. Unlike commercial bands that give you edginess then head home to their fancy mansions, this group's sentiment seems as authentic as it gets.