I often read the influence section of an artist’s bio with a mix of amusement and interest. It can tell you so much about a band, though more often than not it tells you what a band think they are about, two very different things. With less seasoned acts it often echoes what the band aspire too, all too often a pipe-dream or maybe a template that they work from. With musicians who have been around the block a bit it is the more eclectic, seemingly scatter-gun references, to inspirations past and present that are the most interesting, hinting at strange sonic machinations and new ways of building and blending music.
So anyone who lists Rammstein and Bob Dylan, Sigur Ros and Massive Attack as important to their work is always going to ping up on my radar, especially when you realise that even with all of those bewildering potential cross-over sounds, they don’t really sound like any of them. I guess influence comes in many forms and it isn’t always about sounding like your references, in fact it is best if you don’t.
I Am A Rocketship sits in a more underground, indie place but one that is happy to bend so many other musical signature sounds to its will, from rock muscle to trip-hop beats, psychedelic vibes to widescreen cinematics. Hot In Here is a perfect blend of twangy, retro rock’n’roll riffs with trippy beats, a real blend of then and now, past and present and Kick is a full-on, reverb-soaked, alt-rock underground anthem. Somewhere between is opening salvo Face Off, all sultry, Bolanesque grooves and Zeppelin vibes made over for a dance-rock audience and Mind Graffiti is a slice of surprisingly jaunty roots-pop strangeness.
Like all good music you can never quite put your finger on what is going on here, never predict where it will go next, that’s what happens when you encounter a band who are leading rather than following. Genres are used like brushstrokes, eras are sonic hues blended together without restriction and the future is being written yet no matter how eclectic it all gets it always sounds like the same band, which of course is the art of trailblazing albums. Du Hast, The Rammstein classic, re-imagined as a brilliant alt-dance number is just the icing on the cake.