The Man from the Moon - Rocket Attack Review
by Mark Hensch
Here is a blast from the past. This Rocket Attack is powered by nostalgic, fond memories towards the 1980s symphonic and arena hard rock movements, presenting The Man from the Moon as decidedly retrogressive. Sensitive yet rocking, cheesy yet serious, Rocket Attack recalls a time when rock and roll---and ONLY rock and roll---ruled the entire musical world.
And what a world it was. Over the course of preparing for this review, my listens of Rocket Attack have conjured up memories of acts as disparate as Billy Joel, Rush, Journey, Asia, Elton John, and dozens more. The order of the day is loud, rocking keyboard rock, gorgeously rendered and with plenty of heart. Songs range from the shimmering, delicate ballad to the full throttle rock monsters and everything in between.
Just for fun, I will pick two random tracks and compare them as a means of exploring this paradox. An album opener like title track “Rocket Attack,” for example, busts out hard rocking riffs laced with swirling background effects and buckets of hooks with a balance of heaviness and sugar akin to rock candy. In contrast, a number like “The Walker” quietly strolls through moonlit avenues that are subdued, poignant, and intimate all at once.
The variety does not end there, however. “Warm Blooded Woman” kicks off with some guitar abuse worthy of a minor Van Halen showboating jam, all before launching into an over-the-top power anthem. “President of Madness,” meanwhile, starts off as an uplifting keyboard jaunt ala the classic “Final Countdown” before switching gears and cranking the amps up in the guitars department. “In Love and Memory” next mixes folksy chords with melodramatic harmonics and booming arena rock, only to switch back and forth with a moody grace. After this, the weird duo of “Ice Man” and “Dance Mama” take the band’s normal keyboard/arena rock format and injects just a whispering hint of chilly synth pop to the proceedings.
Best of all though is undisputed album highlight “Eagle Free.” This song is so damn good it deserves its own f*cking paragraph. It is that rare kind of song which transcends typical description, instead capturing something beyond mere music---a zeitgeist perhaps. The music is loud and fun, yet sad too, all while sounding simple but in reality being well-crafted and powerfully built. Best of all is how it captures The Man from the Moon’s dual natures. At some points, “Eagle Free” is a blistering hard rocker and others a vortex of breathlessly exhilarating keyboard passages. All of it, however, captures the beauty of rock and roll in one beautiful moment.
Like any true Rocket Attack, this one seemingly dropped from the sky and exploded right into my ears, and with as little warning as that. Rarely has a band sounded so confidently oldschool while remaining current and relevant as well---these guys are the real deal. Touching, entertaining, and always engaging, this is my pick for the sleeper album of 2008. Simply put, Rocket Attack is one album definitely worth going over the moon for.
The Man from the Moon’s Rocket Attack
Warm Blooded Woman
President of Madness
In Love and Memory
I Am Your God
Time Gives a Moment
My Home Town
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