Rocket Uppercut

This Beautiful Tragedy

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Rocket Uppercut stands up to the expectations of what a typical European indie band is supposed to deliver, similar to the likes of Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, the Killers, and the White Stripes. The post-punk, noisy, riff-based guitar sound is refreshing, if not new, though there are contemporary bands delivering the same sound. The 12 songs on the album offer much more stripped down music compared to declared influences like Sonic Youth and Blondie; though noise and screech form the undertone, the compositions are more structured and teen oriented, if not outright contemporary and innovative. There are a few characteristic aspects that a seasoned listener is bound to pick -- peppy riffs, low level bass, screeching vocals styled along the lines of punk and college rock. "We'll Always Love the Stars" is definitely the best song on the album, with mellowed vocals and a melodic arrangement similar to bands like Oasis and R.E.M.. The same tone is found in songs like "Secret Song," which is very stimulating and offers the combination of alteration and structural modesty. The energetic screeching vocals are evident in songs like "Rock 'N Roll Science" and "Smashing on Love." Though the disaffected undertone is present throughout, the album doesn't digress anywhere and is always intelligently crafted. "Why D'You Tell Me" and "The Arrival" exemplify the retro-styled guitar rhythms amalgamated with robust vocals. The use of a traditional guitar/drum/bass ensemble without the use of complicated technologies, even on guitar effects, gives it a conventional rock sound. There's rarely a solo fused in, as in the songs like "Cinderella" and "Choices." There are possibilities of Brit experimentation throughout the album close to that of Kula Shaker and Velvet Underground. There may be times that a debut album is just good enough to point to the great musicians behind it, as in the case here. Though this album is bound to fall in the broad ranges of college rock and alternative punk, it's as flawless as any debut album is supposed to be and one may have to deliberately find reasons to love or hate the band given the fact that they deliver what they promise.