Too many bands give up their "secrets" immediately—everything they have is laid out in one or two songs. Not so ROCKET 3—while their touchstones can be discerned straight away—The Shins, Veruca Salt, Garbage—their songs are layered and nuanced while at the same time ROCK with immediate yet thoughtfully-crafted melodies, delivered with joyous immediacy and passion.
ROCKET 3 is the latest combo in the continuum of classic rockin' sounds from the Pacific Northwest. Like the best and the brightest of these—from the Wailers and Sonics to The Fastbacks and Nirvana and beyond—Rocket 3 have The Similar Right Stuff: Righteous aggression coming from their hearts and guts to yours; melodies you'll sing yourself hoarse on the way home, and a sweet ringing in your ears through 'til the AM. ROCKET 3's modus operandi: Bash the eardrum, touch the heart, and give the frontal lobes a bit to savor—the way the best rock & roll is and always has been.
ROCKET 3 is a trio of Midwesterners transplanted to Portland, Oregon: Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Ramune Nagisetty is from Ohio by way of the former USSR and India; Drummer Drew Anymouse, from Michigan, and bassist Tony Guzman from Indiana. A combination of Fate and Pacific Northwest technology brought them together. Ramune is a relative newcomer to playing music—but as Charles Foster Kane thought it might be fun to run a newspaper, she says, "I got a guitar on Feb 15, 2010 and started playing it the next day. It wasn't that hard. I was writing original songs shortly thereafter and started recording my solo EP later in that same year." Released under the name Ramune in '11, the EP Truth and Beauty received play on local Portland stations (KINK 101.9 and KZME 107.1 ) and got positive reviews. Ramune's palette is rich with a strong sense of intuition that is not constrained by years of formality. Further, she's got a keen sense of melodic construction, one that's induced by her inspirations: Blondie, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, and The Velvet Underground. Initially a duo of Nagisetty and Anymouse—who drummed previously for Toxic Attitude, Crash Cars, and Reignbow—they decided they needed a bottom (no pun intended) that only a bass could fill—via word-of-mouth, enter Tony Guzman, who'd honed his craft with Ancient Astronauts, Ramblin' Rose, and Rainbow Electric. As you got to have a sturdy foundation from which to build a dream house, Anymouse and Guzman—whose tastes and influences run from classic rock such as Led Zeppelin and beyond rock—provide that foundation that can stand the shocks generated by Nagisetty's mini-epics.
Their debut disc BURN is a multi-faceted wonder of crunchy chords, gorgeously pensive singing, surging melodies, supple and sinuous bass, and cracking drums, garnished/glazed by alternately dreamy and feverish washes of feedback (evoking My Bloody Valentine at their most harmonious). "Fate" tears out of your sound-system interlacing the explosive melodicism and dynamics of The Who and Cheap Trick in their respective primes and the winsome bittersweet angst of early Blondie and '90s college-rock faves Blake Babies. "Never Again" has guitar that shimmers like a summer sunset and drums that crack like thunderclaps. "Begin Again" is rich with the melodramatic grandeur of 1960s girl-group icons The Shangri-Las, the more recent grandeur of The Shins, and the shining-like-chrome power chords of The Fastbacks. "We Believe" has some of the wiriness of The Pixies and the genial sass of Aimee Mann. "Catch Me" ambitiously melds the winsome girl-group and jangling folk-rock sounds of the '60s with the hammer-of- the-gods wallop of Led Zeppelin, with a brief hint of reggae rhythm. Unlike some combos, the roots of Rocket 3 go back further than four to seven years—note their brilliantly inspired version of The Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties," given a thorny post-punk reworking (evoking Magazine) that maintains the original's chilly melancholy while Rocket 3 make it their own with a loping, sinewy bass-line you'll find hard to get out of your head. BURN will take the world by all sorts of storm November 4- you got to watch.
ps. Ramune is a Lithuanian name. It ends with a long E and kinda rhymes with goofy.