As much as we, like so many, devour new sounds and moments of uniqueness there is always room for potent nostalgia especially when under the creativity of bands such as Rocket Report. The British electro indie pop outfit has just unveiled debut album, Overmorrow; a record which harkens back to the bands and sounds which enriched the eighties and nineties but in doing so has bred its own individual and unique presence within the world of electronic pop.
A shared love of Kraftwerk brought Jon Russell and Mark J Stagg together to record during the early 1990s in Manchester, a union reconnecting in 2019 when Russell asked Stagg to remix some tracks for his alter ego Jonteknik. The subsequent lockdown saw the pair working together remotely and Rocket Report emerged. Guitarist Robert Mcculloch was brought in for some songs initially but as things progressed he became more involved with the duo becoming a trio that has now released their first album and one which quite simply proved striking and addictive from start to finish.
Selected opens up Overmorrow and immediately puts a manipulative finger upon ears and appetite, its lead hook and pulse tantalisingly mesmeric. Swiftly a bigger lure of sound envelops the senses; Russell’s warm tones just as captivating as the infection loaded enterprise the threesome weave. It is a virulence which directed feet, hips and vocal chords with creative eagerness, never a moment available to take a breath as the album hits full swing and prowess straight away.
Overmorrow reveals a few covers in its fullest package, the first being Modigliani (Lost In Your Eyes), a song by US band Book Of Love which Rocket Report discovered within the soundtrack of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. The trio bring a richer breath and depth to the original with their electronic led interpretation, echoing its indie jangle and infectiousness but escalating at the same time the latter and the track’s natural elegance.
The following She Said sets a particular peak in the album’s lofty landscape, the track rising from an insistent pulse to forge an imperious electro rock proposal. It prowls almost stalks as it roams the senses, all the while brewing an intrigue ridden groove within a web of sound as ominous as it is manipulatively seductive. Crystaline sunspots spark within the metallic netting of McCulloch, imaginative twists adding to the drama and suggestion of one momentous moment within the release, one of so many as proven by Going Nowhere. It is a track with a definite Depeche Mode leaning though that is a rich hue in something openly individual to Rocket Report, a trait shown again within Highs Like This which bears a similar flavouring to its predecessor but soon weaves its own character and mix of dark and light intimacy and inescapable catchiness.
That inspiration suggested by the last pair of songs is a firm influence in next up Clean, the track a cover of the Martin L Gore written classic. Russell and Stagg bring the heart and soul of the song to the fore in their take, piano and vocals soaked in intimacy and melancholy within an imposing chill. As the song evolves with the violin of Olivia Moore evoking deeper emotive suggestion alongside keys and electronic intimation, it grows into a haunting moment of beauty.
Like A Fool stepped forward next to take a grip on favourite song choice, its groove from the outset a tease on instincts and appetite yet only the spark to greater manipulative seduction and incessant dexterity. It is creative virulence, a song with a great Dalek I Love You essence to its stroll and a ravenous appetite to its contagion loaded chorus which leaves Symptoms Of Collapse plenty to do to rival its success. Fair to say it comes so close, its own chorus inescapably captivating on body and vocal chords within a cast of melodic and electronic veils bearing a Visage-esque sheen.
The steely industrial bred Every Storm Runs Dry Of Rain creates a formidable temptation next, its landscape a maze of ominous intimation and unpredictable imagination before Abandon The Pain bears a more post punk nurtured exposure of emotion and enterprise. It is dark and shadowy in every aspect but equally casts a glow of elegance that alluringly wraps its tenebrific heart.
Through the sonically sizzling Black Days and Broken Soul with its electronic vapours and melodic intensity the album only tightened its grip; the first welcoming a mix of early Human League and again Dalek I Love You to its own rapacious reflection and creative exploration to provide thick drama and temptation. The second is similarly steeped in shadows and emotive tension, but shimmers and radiates with melodic luminescence before erupting in hope fuelled infectiousness.
As mentioned there are extra tracks within the CD version of Overmorrow, the band treating ears to not only a People Theatre Mix of Modigliani (Lost In Your Eyes) and an extended version of Highs Like This but also giving an electronic grooming to The Psychedelic Furs’ Sister Europe which escalates the song’s light and dark sides and a dub infused take on Joy Division’s Disorder. Equally they draw a fresh unrest and drama to the track, bringing its raw head to the fore even as their electronic radiance bounds the song’s instinctive starkness.
We suggest going for the full 16 song version of Overmorrow but which ever you explore will provide the richest temptations and pleasures. Rocket Report may at times recall past eras of adventure in their songs but as their debut proves, they create electronic pop and rock which ignites the now.
Overmorrow is out now; available @ https://rocketreport.bandcamp.com/album/overmorrow
Pete RingMaster 02/07/2021
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