The Rocketz New Album 'Lovesick & Heartbroke'
To be lovesick and heartbroke, sure reads like the romantic trials and tribulations of a heartsick country boy. The Rocketz play a punked up style of rockabilly on this 11-song album. It’s a sound closer to, say, Social Distortion, than to anything pioneered by Sun Records pioneers. The guitars are pumped up to modern rock levels, but tracks like “See You Around” nevertheless rollick with a recognizable rockabilly groove.
Although rockabilly is the act’s primary musical base, there is also plenty of sonic variety contained on the album. For instance, there is “Takes Me Back.” This one slows the pace down considerably to ballad speed. It’s a sad relationship song. It also has the feel of an old rock & roll love song. In addition to the guitar, bass and drums, this inclusion also features a brass section, which gives it that extra authentic feel. Then the band goes right back to ripping it up with “Sleeping In Your Arms.” The latter is a noisy number one can well imagine live audiences circling to it in a mosh pit.
Roots music is oftentimes a mishmash of multiple styles, which is why rockabilly bands usually work in other genres into their overall mix. For instance, this album includes the questioning “What The Hell Do You Want From Me,” which is a rocking country track. “There ain’t no love between us,” complains vocalist Tony “Slash” Red-Horse. The guitars twang longingly throughout. He notes that he never lied or cheated on this girl, yet she still holds a grudge against him. It’s the sound of a guy that’s simply confused about where his relationship with this girl stands. It’s a song that would sound right at home on any honkytonk jukebox, most anywhere in the South.
Based in Los Angeles, this trio recorded Love & Heartbroke in Orange, CA, a region of the country where, long after the rockabilly revival of the ‘80s, the style still lives on and thrives. Just why such a rootsy music has found so much fertile ground in the famously plastic SoCal area, is a mystery. Nonetheless, this act clearly loves these sounds, which are loud and noisy enough to appeal to even non-roots music fans.
Lyrically, “Wrong About You” reinforces how much many of these tunes are ‘she done me wrong’ songs. There isn’t really a whole lot of love and light expressed through them. “Wrong About You” includes a big, electric guitar solo that would also fit into most any hard rock song. It’s taken at a slightly slow beat, and mostly expresses disappointment with a woman that a guy had clearly misjudged.
Then again, a group probably wouldn’t title its album Lovesick & Heartbroke, unless there wasn’t many examples of lovesickness and heartbrokenness contained within. One of the best old rockabilly songs is Johnny Cash’s “Get Rhythm.” On it, Cash advises, “Get rhythm when you get the blues.” The Rocketz have certainly taken this advice to heart. While there’s sadness sung about often, these groves still chug along nicely. Hopefully, such forward motion helps to offset all the hurt found in the subject matter. It’ll make you rock right along with them, whether you’re in love or out of it. So, get these rhythms, no matter what state you’re in.
Listen to the album here: