January 29, 2015

Symphonic Progressive Review: Rocket Scientists-Refuel

Release Date: 9th Dec 2014
Label: Think Tank Media

Having previously reviewed Rocket Scientists, a symphonic prog band from USA, with the release of their 2 track EP, Supernatural Highways, it is with a great deal of anticipation, that I have the new full length release, Refuel, on my desk for review.

Rocket Scientists is a 3 piece outfit which is expanded by guest musicians when required, with the core trio being, Marc McCrite (vocals, guitar), Erik Norlander (keyboards, vocals) and Don Schiff (Chapman Stick, bass guitar, cello, viola, mandolin). Guesting on the Refuel album are, Greg Bissonette (drums), Emily McCrite (vocals), John Papenbrook (trumpet), Rich Hoffman (piccolo trumpet), Eric Jorgensen (trombone) with Lana Lane and Kelly Keeling providing vocals on tracks 12 and 9 respectively.

Refuel is a 16 track album with a total playing time of around 79 minutes. The final four tracks are classed as bonus tracks, being as they are tracks that are already contained in the main body of the album, but appear without the crossfading. The longest track on offer on Refuel is track 10, “Rome’s About to Fall” at 8:15 minutes with track 8, “Reconstruct,” the shortest at 1:29 minutes.

The opening, and title, track, “Refuel” (2:13) is a short band workout that seems to just put layer after layer of sound to start and then allows an amazing passage of keyboards (Erik), followed by guitar acrobatics (Mark), all suitably “nailed down” by the bass (Don). This is a short track that simply demands you to listen to the rest of the album.

“She’s Getting Hysterical” (6:05) grabs your ears from the word go and proceeds to take you on a simply amazing aural journey. There are hooks galore, superb echo vocals, deep powerful vocals, an amazing motif that appears several times, mainly keyboard based, but toward the end, the motif appears played on a trumpet. The keyboards are simply sensational over this track.

“Martial” (3:41), “Regenerate” (4:33), “Reconstruct” (1:29), “Cheshire Cat Smile” (5:25), “Galileo” (5:05) and “The Lost Years” (5:59) would all fit into the “ear grabbing” category, all being up-tempo with sweeping synths and excellent guitar riffing. Each track is filled with those hooks that, even after only one play, have managed to get inside your head, almost without your knowledge.

The other tracks, “It’s Over” (6:25), “The Fading Light” (7:29), “The World Waits For You” (4:20) and “Rome’s About to Fall” (8:15), while not the same up-tempo status, nevertheless has hooks which are a little more subtle, which befits the gentler pace of these tracks.

The final four tracks, mentioned earlier as extras, with no crossfading, have very slightly different running times, but only by a few seconds.

This album was featured on my radio show, “She’s Getting Hysterical” and “Rome’s About To Fall” from the album and the long “Traveller On The Supernatural Highways” from the recent EP release and there were several comments about the amazing music being broadcast.

Refuel is a return to the sound that the Rocket Scientists are known for. On offer on this album, are the solos, from all the main musicians, the pop elements and the prerequisite key-changes that followers of Rocket Scientists will be on the lookout for. They will not be in any way disappointed with what they hear on Refuel, the huge swathes of majestic keyboards from Erik Norlander, excellent guitar work by Mark McCrite and that perfectly pitched and matched bass provided by Don Schiff are all here.

Refuel is an album that demands to be played over and over to really appreciate the majestic release that it is. Both “One to Buy” and “The Experience will last Forever” stickers adorn the cover and I can almost guarantee with 100% certainty, that upon hearing Refuel, it will be purchased and have a special little place on your CD shelves.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: She’s Getting Hysterical, It’s Over, Rome’s About To Fall

She’s Getting Hysterical
It’s Over
The Fading Light
The World Waits For You
Cheshire Cat Smile (feat Kelly Keeley)
Rome’s About To Fall
The Lost Years (feat Lana Lane)
It’s Over (no crossfade)
Regenerate (no crossfade)
Reconstruct (no crossfade)
Cheshire Cat Smile (no crossfade)

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

January 29, 2015

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

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