Hailing from Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, Rocket Culture has been playing together since 2010 and released their self-titled EP Rocket Culture in 2013. Alex LeBlanc (vocals, guitar, piano, synth, programing), Colin Gauvin (vocals, bass, guitar), Mario Levesque (guitar, percussion) and Benjamin Buchanan (drums, percussion) deliver five experimental but accessible songs that make a statement. You can think of the music as contemporary progressive rock that fuses in elements such as synths, complex timing and original sounds. Perhaps rock is a bit limiting to their scope because you also get treated to snippets of punk rock and even funk.
The album opens with a highlight called “Kid.” Speaking of prog rock the first riff they hit you with sounds like something you may have heard on a Yes album. The boys hit a lot of notes and go up and down scales as Leblanc delivers a very solid vocal performance. About three-and-a half-minutes the band breaks into rhythmically complex and creative rocking. The double bass drum and jangly guitars were on point.
The second song “Landscapes” implements a couple of synths as the band really starts to find some original sounds. You are bombarded by white waves of distortion and radio transmission that over stimulate the senses. The band doesn't waste time mixing things up by throwing in a funky bass break down. As the song progresses it builds energy and throws in more twists and turns. The music finds itself in a swampy muck only to come out finding a hardcore riff not unlike something you might hear from a slightly toned down Rage Against the Machine. The finest moment come towards the end where the vocal harmonies enter the already triumphant sound.
I initially thought “King of the World” was going to be an ambient piece but ends up being the most straightforward amongst the bunch while “November” displays some restraint and attention to detail. I really enjoyed the dynamics as well as the sense of space they achieved on “November". They close with “Stepping Stone,” which is a bass heavy song that is arguably the highlight of the album. The song ends up rocking pretty hard and was a good way to end the album.
Overall, Rocket Culture may have a bit of tweaking to do on their upcoming full-length to be formidable monsters of indie rock but they aren't far off. They have a lot going for them and have built a very strong foundation with this impressive EP.
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