Rocket From The Crypt - Group Sounds (Cover Artwork)

Rocket From The Crypt

Group Sounds (2001)


Us punk rock kids do some wacky stuff. Take tattooing your favorite band's logo on yourself. Are you honestly going to be listening to Saves The Day when you're 40? Are you going to try to explain their punk credentials to your children? On the other hand, am I going to be listening to Dag Nasty when I'm 40? I hope so, Because I'll look pretty stupid at Michael Boltin concerts with the ‘Wig Out at Denko's' logo on my arm.

There's only one other band I've ever thought about getting their logo in permanent ink: Rocket from the Crypt. And with their new album, Group Sounds, I may just run out to the tattoo parlor right now.

I want to warn you right off the bat: this is a no frills, rock and roll record. This is not the typical Vagrant Records release. This is not for pretty boy punks. There is no ‘lovers-lament, my girlfriend left me' crap. RFTC writes and plays music from the gut, for the gut.

"Say hello to my little friend…" starts the first track ‘Straight American Slave.' And by the end of the song you know they mean business. Lyrically, this is RFTC's most angry, emotionally raw record. Speedo seems a man possessed with lines like "That pig needs a warning/We're out for blood" (Savoir Faire) and "Outside an audience begs/Show us more scars/Burn back the fields at once/And blanket with tar" (White Belt). We get an inkling of hope in Dead Seeds with "Dead on the vine/I hope your leaves never fall off," but that's it. His voice is as hoarse as ever, raw from so many shows and cigarettes. But I wouldn't want it any other way.

The songs are quick blasts of pure rock with guitar riffs so simple, you'll kick yourself for not coming up with them before. The patented RFTC horns are in full effect and hitting harder than ever. A full Stax/Motown feel, but never getting to busy and taking over. They slow it down with the final track Ghost Shark, an almost creepy ballad with piano and timpani that will have you singing along by the second chorus. And Return of the Liar has what is probably the best use of handclaps and cowbell ever.

This has taken Scream Dracula, Scream's place as my favorite RFTC record. So what do you think? Right shoulder or forearm?