The past couple of years alone have proved that American-Swedish indie pop outfit I Am a Rocketship have nurtured a sound and creative imagination which simply draws you into the heart of songs, a union of physical temptation and emotional premise which is at its most alluring and captivating within the pair’s new album, Lies and Legends. It is a collection of tracks which marry raw edge and tempestuous dilemma with sonic beauty and emotive contemplation in an encounter that wholly fascinated from start to finish.
The creative unity of guitarist/programmer Eric Weissinger and cellist/vocalist L E Kippner (also of Swedish synth-pop duo Neobox) has regularly earned eager attention and acclaim across releases and albums bred on a sound which springs from the duo’s imagination to spark the listener’s own. Ever evolving, I Am a Rocketship’s music has grown bolder by the record, a fusion of indie pop and a more voracious rock seeded enterprise increasingly embracing a tapestry of other flavours. Lies and Legends is the band’s richest weave of sounds and enterprise yet, a release which is as voracious as it is seductive and as adventurous as it is instinctively refined.
Fever Dream sets the album off with a gentle urging of ears, keys a radiant beckoning before a surge of rapacious guitars erupt upon the senses. Already that alignment of graceful calm and tempestuous intent makes for a compelling proposition, the track prowling before relaxing back into its reserved gracefulness as Kippner’s golden tones caress ears as less modest rhythms bear their animated gait. With tranquil and hazy temptation rising into volatile and invasive trespass throughout the outstanding opener, the song is as mercurial and dreamy as it is ravenous and nightmarish.
Lies and Legends is a release which looks at “the appeal, in trying times, of lies and legends over reason and love” and how this can “give people hope, a feeling of belonging, and frequently, a license to do terrible things in the name of their belief.” The first song sets the intent which sweeps the breath of the album, the following Revolution weaving another aspect with its sunshine air and evocative charm across a dynamic rhythmic and sonic landscape which again from manipulative catchiness shares a mercurial drama in sound, intimation and security.
Stone is pure incitement from its first breath, crowded handclaps and punchy rhythms sparking delicious waves of discord kissing guitar alongside a moodier bassline. There is a compelling eighties post punk drama to the track which alone got under the skin and with the ever magnetic beauty of Kippner’s vocals and the growing dance of brass and Weissinger’s ever agile touch and imagination, the track grew into an addiction even before we first got to explore the just as agile enterprise of Taxman. Again it is a track which rhythmically manoeuvres the senses whilst melodically and harmonically nurturing a realm of intimation and contemplation to embrace but with its own potent individuality and enthralling volatility.
With an opening almost shamanic like breath Set The Controls to Forever embroils ears and imagination in an espionage of sinister and absorbing drama; its weave of tension spun textures and gripping suggestion another major highlight of the release with Insurrection more than matching its temptation with its noir lit drama of sound and lyrical implication. The song almost prowls the senses and imagination with its slow swung gait and tenebrific radiance, urging deeper thought and involvement by the twist and turn as like a siren in its midst Kippner shines; fantasy and reality in irresistible collusion.
As What’s This For brings its provocative calm and radiance to ears, it proved hard not to be greedier in attention, the track weaving a beguiling crepuscular coaxing which in turn bears a theatre of peril and disquiet. There is a haunting glow to the beauty in sound and voice which is kindling to flames of tension and noisier dilemma; it all making for one more contagion loaded proposal echoed in the no less riveting and ominous On Poppy Hill. Almost eldritch in its haunting glow and seductive voice, the song proved another enthralling moment in I Am a Rocketship invention and drama.
The final pair of Ignorance with its folkish countenance and the symphonic hued Hide ensured the fascination of Lies and Legends was at a fresh peak before it departed. Both songs spun tales of craft and thought which entangled pleasure and intrigue like predators, drawing, admittedly like all songs in their individual ways, the keenest intent to keep coming back to the album’s magnificence.
And magnificent Lies and Legends certainly is, the finest moment with I Am a Rocketship yet with ease but a record carrying the suggestion that we have still to truly explore the depths of the pair’s exploration of possibilities and creativity; anticipation for things to come as rife of the vast enjoyment found now.
Lies and Legends is out now via My Long Wknd; available @ https://iamarocketship.bandcamp.com/album/lies-and-legends
Pete RingMaster 23/12/2021
Copyright RingMaster Review