Rocket 3 have pulled off a coup

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Portland, Oregon's Rocket 3 are indie-pop practitioners of the highest order. Mastering the genre conventions as if they themselves had invented them, the songs on their debut LP, BURN, blast forth from the speakers like a thousand hipster angels descending from the heavens. Thanks in no small part to their especially angelic lead vocalist, Ramune Nagisetty, the band elevates her voice to otherworldly territory via the incessant interplay between playful bass lines and a bare-bones, smash 'n bash rhythm section not heard since the germinal days of punk.

On songs such as "Good Enough," the band sounds like an honest-to-goodness Top 40 pop group that has been spoon fed nothing but late '70s punk for the last forty years. Packed with hooks and pop-friendly vocals, the guitars are so drenched in distortion that they rust the sheen of the song's shiny metallic exterior upon contact. Likewise, "Submission" channels Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, paring an oh-so-familiar ironic slacker vocal with some seriously Never Mind the Bollocks inspired instrumentals. Surprisingly, things even get a little acoustic at times, as is the case on the jangly campfire jam "Never Again."

Rocket 3's greatest strength is their versatility. Seamlessly jumping between pop, punk, grunge, and everything in between, the band acknowledges that audiences today are yearning for variety in their music. In their highly covert fashion, Rocket 3 have pulled off a serious coup by using the ubiquitous umbrella term "indie-pop" to make a record that is anything but one-size-fits all. What gives this all-encompassing musical vision such credence is that it is immediately apparent that the three members of Rocket 3 actually lived through punk, grunge and the indie-pop of recent years. These songs are not mere exercises in recreating sounds from long-dead genres, but rather an expression of collective musical life experience spread out over thirteen songs. Taken together, these songs represent nothing less than a mission statement for the band: learn and BURN.  -Aside/Beside

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