Orange – I Am a Rocketship (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

The best music is resilient to generic labels. I mean, you can try to attach succinct and snappy soundbites but they never quite fit so why bother? I Am a Rocketship is a band of which this is certainly true, a fact that their marvellous and mercurial releases continue to make clear. The latest, Orange, a short, sweet, concise and perfectly formed e.p. only underlines the pointlessness of such journalistic endeavours.

They have always been too smart to be pop, too subtle to truly be classed as rock, and so there they sit in their own little world, a sonic island floating between the frivolous and the frantic, between the obvious and the…well, the even more obvious. And I bet that is exactly where they always planned to be.

Shooting Star, which kicks things off, is a shimmering acoustic soundscape, beats provide a simple, unfussy groove, guitar rhythms add body, pianos punctual but the focal point, as always, is the gorgeous, hazy blends of vocals between Eric Weissinger and L E Kippner. God’s Country moves things up a notch, weaving a resonant and raw rock ’n’ roll guitar through the background and running on a buoyant groove before the title track heightens things even more, pushing along a sort of off-kilter, industrial disco vibes and more than happy to exist without the need for lyrical input.

By the time we arrive at the final track, Back From The Shadows we have slide down the other side of the dynamic, sonic arc into more considered but still surprising and original territory where vocals implore and guitars wander between deft and delicate lines and raucous rock moves.

As always, I Am a Rocketship are everything you expect and more. You know that they are going to do things their own way but when they do so you still find it surprising and unexpected. And that’s the sign of truly unique band.

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