Audio/Rocketry - Piloting A Vehicle of Audible Expression (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Audio / Rocketry

Piloting A Vehicle of Audible Expression (2011)


The question that immediately comes to mind when putting this album on, is how on earth do three people make such a cacophonous racket? Yes, I know that music can be loud, in your face and pummeling your ears until they bleed, but this is folk-punk, not a genre that perhaps you would expect to have that effect, but it does. Hell, there are not even any crashing drums here to boost the sound. Still, it's amazing what can be done with some very simple instruments and some songs that are played within an inch of their existence. You need to banish any preconceptions on what folk-punk might sound like because this turns everything on its head with an energy and full-on assault that reminds me of the first time I saw the Pogues as a teenager: I was mesmerized by everything about the band.

So, this trio from Edmonton, Alberta has managed to harness some of what I get from the World/Inferno Friendship Society, in that they tell tales to a musical background that is not of the norm, yet is accessible and, more importantly, of the kind that spreads your mouth into a massive grin as you let it wash over you, engulfing you entirely and enveloping you with its allure. One other thing that Audio/Rocketry and W/IFS share is that despite having a core membership (three in the case of A/R) they quite often expand for recordings (and admittedly there are six people involved on this album) and performances, and as I have done for W/IFS on each occasion I've seen them live, I reckon that I'd been far from immobile if I saw Audio/Rocketry live. It would be impossible to stay still for the whole show. One other band that comes to mind when listening to Audio/Rocketry is Even in Blackouts, more for that acoustic sound in their music as well as the raggedness that the band has than the actual songs themselves.

I know that I am prone to using the word "infectious" about bands/music, but for me it's the one word which easily describes how a band can effortlessly draw you into their sound without you even considering putting up a fight: it's almost a total unconditional submission.

The basis for folk music was and still is the telling of tales, be they tall or otherwise and with Audio/ Rocketry that too is the key element for each song, be they the frantic, uptempo ones or when the foot comes off the pedal and everything slows down a bit. Joe Vickers has a voice made for this kind of music and his clear delivery of the lyrics certainly helps in the telling of the tales. As soon as he sings, "I want something with less image and more substance / An item I can chew on that is not sugar coated / I want meaning, something worth believing in / I'll strive toward achieving it until we bestow it," in the opening song, "Mission Statement," then I am on the side of the band wholeheartedly, as they are sentiments I agree with almost without reservation and I would add that I believe Audio/Rocketry do bestow upon us something that is not just a piece of fluff or a throwaway collection of songs. From there on in, the lyrics are thoughtful, interesting and amusing--in fact they serve up a veritable cornucopia of tales that provide the substance referred to in that first track and with a musical background that is anything but pedestrian. This isn't all about just frenetic approach and there are as many laid back tunes on the album, highlighting that it's not just about making people stomp and shout but also to give you time to kick back and enjoy the music too.

To add a couple more things I hear, I'd say that the mandolin brings to mind R.E.M. during "Hey Dynasty, Don't Forget..." and at times the harmonica, Bruce Springsteen, but I wouldn't say the music sounds anything like those two artists just they come to mind.

So, more good music coming out of Canada and more good artwork on a 12" x 12" cover. This is out on CD too and also available on Bandcamp, plus the band suggests you copy the album for a friend too.