Rocket from the Crypt

All Systems Go, Vol. 2

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Some years after the initial collection, this follow-up to the first All Systems Go follows the same method as the original, right down to similar cover art, disc art, and even inlay tray track-listing style (no comments about Garth Brooks being a "puppet asshole" this time around, though). Besides a slew of B-sides from British singles taken from their "regular" albums like Scream, Dracula, Scream, any number of one-offs, contributions to split singles and compilations, and more are again assembled, an amazing 25 songs' worth of great times. If a few numbers seem too obscure, most work just fine on their own. With JC 2000 on board throughout, one or two early cuts aside, the distinct horn attack that makes Rocket such a treat is on full display. Everything from almost winsome pop -- check the downright sweet verses on the opening "Tarzan" -- to nuclear-strength guitar obliteration gets the Rocket treatment here. The recording quality generally sounds a bit better here than with the original All Systems Go, likely because of the major label cash that helped in the recording here and there, but thankfully nothing ever sounds too slick. Some all-time greats include the almost-too-explosive-to-live "UFO, UFO, UFO," piano careening amidst the groove-heavy tune with Reis in his rough-voiced crowd-inspiring glory; the energetically pissed kiss-off "Heads Are Gonna Roll"; and the frenetic Halloween-themed "I Drink Blood." A fine treat is the inclusion of a slew of cover songs, with the band touching on expected and unexpected roots alike. Bands like the Drags and the Real Kids make perfect sense in context -- even Ray Charles -- but hearing Rocket snarl through the Silver Apples' "You and I" makes for a one-of-a-kind experience.

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