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Rockett Queen: Goodnight California

With a name that appears to reference Guns n' Roses and a look that's more Black Veil Brides than Sunset Strip, the real surprise is that Texas outfit Rockett Queen, often sound more like Bowling For Soup or Paramore (with a male vocalist) than either GN'R or BVB. Initially released back in 2011, and then seemingly again in 2014, Fade To Silence Records now give the Goodnight California mini-album a third bite at the cherry with a 2015 re-re-issue.

Is this mini-album worthy of a trio of efforts at getting it noticed? Well…. almost, for there is enough here to snag the interest, without really suggesting that the disaffected vocals and standard riffs really stand out from the pack. Vocalist Walter Lee operates in a manner that the younger generation will approve of, while still holding enough to keep the old guard happy. Although his rhythm work and Jay Scars' lead bursts do suggest real promise. However with the sound never too sure whether it sits in the punk n' roll of Backyard Babies, sleaze undertones of Vain or modern outlook of Bowling…, the results confuse as much as they assure.

With opening number "Day Break" no more than a scene setter, it's left to "To Be Loved" to make the first real statement, and in fairness, it's also the strongest track on show, attitude firing out of the speakers with real intensity. "I Hate You" and the title cut don't quite keep pace, too many expected twists turned to and a niggling reliance on annoying vocal melodies utilised in hope of keeping things sounding current. However Rockett Queen sound much more at ease revealing their vintage roots through the Slash-like guitar solo the title track benefits from. "Since You've Been Gone" (not the Rainbow classic) brings a little more class to proceedings, proving through a mid paced thump that this band can mix it up, although "Hey God" does a decent job through a hammer it out to the max routine. An interesting acoustic number, "Hard To Love", surprises by being more hard hitting than much of the bombastic fare that surrounds it, impressing as it also illustrates the issue here. Namely that Rockett Queen often seem more capable of making an impact with the songs removed from the expected, rather the ones steeped in their core sound.

To be fair to this act formed in the early noughties, much may have changed in four years and while there doesn't appear to have been any new music in that time. Maybe what comes next from Rockett Queen will give us a stronger indication of where this band is headed.

Track Listing
1. Day Break
2. To Be Loved
3. I Hate You
4. Since You've Been Gone
5. Goodnight California

Added: January 9th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Rocket Queen online
Hits: 1273
Language: english

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