Rocket from the Tombs

Rocket Redux

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Three decades after their formation and 28 years after their initial demise, the members of Cleveland proto-punk band Rocket From the Tombs defied odds by regrouping for an exhilarating June 2003 tour. An outgrowth of those magical gigs, Rocket Redux is designed to capture the forceful set list from those shows in the studio, with the help of Television's Richard Lloyd. Alongside original Rocket vocalist David Thomas (who went on to form the iconic Pere Ubu), bassist Craig Bell, and guitarist Cheetah Chrome (later of the Dead Boys), Lloyd -- who produces, records, and mixes -- plays guitar for the late Peter Laughner, while Ubu drummer Steve Mehlman works the kit for this fiery 12-song disc. In the face of the crude demos and bootlegs that have been the only RFTT recordings to surface until now, it's a thrill to hear the raw, furious blast of "Frustration" loud and clear as it unfolds into the damn near soulful strains of "So Cold." If "What Love Is" is a testament to Chrome and Lloyd's guitar acrobatics or Thomas' captivating growl, Mehlman and Bell's Led Zeppelin-like stomp locates depth in these guttural anthems. Songs made famous after RFTT split into competitive camps, like "Sonic Reducer," "Final Solution," "Life Stinks," and "Ain't It Fun," get reborn here. And when Thomas inquisitively barks, "Ain't it fun when you get so high, you can't come?" it's practically 1975 all over again. These underground punk legends may all be well into their fifties, but there's no absence of energy on this edgy, discordant, and very necessary set. Come to think of it, most bands half their age would kill for the same kind of hustle and undying spirit.

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