Project Rocket – New Years Revolution

Project Rocket
New Years Revolution

One of the aspects sorely lacking from the majority of bands currently partaking in the genre of “emo-rock” is quality of songwriting. Sure, many of these groups can throw together some power chords with a decent melody added over the top, but what happened to a sense of musicianship? In many cases, it appears being popular is more important than honing the craft of songwriting. After taking a cursory look around the world of modern music (across the board), these observations are not surprising. Creativity seems to have come to a standstill, with, of course, some exceptions – one of them being Project Rocket.
Project Rocket, a Midwestern based outfit led by Spitalfield’s T.J. Minich, does more than the average emo/rock group. At first glance, it would appear that the band is going for a “by the numbers” stab at the Weezer/Dashboard formula; however, as one delves further into each track the band’s delicate sense of songwriting quietly moves to the forefront, bringing the listener into a new world of sights, sounds and “revolutions.”
The variety of tempos and tones show off the instrumental dexterity of the group, and their penchant for nurturing each song in a proper manner is a delight to behold. For example, “Draw Me Closer” opens the record at a nicely chiseled, mid-tempo rocking pace. As far as patterns, this track, like several others, features palm muted, chunky verses flowing directly towards soulful, yearning choruses. The prime aspect of this song is the hand-clapping part just before the finale – nice touch!
Another observation about Project Rocket is their willingness to perfect their material. The group’s revision of “You Charlatan,” previously released on their split CD with Fall Out Boy, is more textured than the original. The new intro and slightly quicker tempo really bring out the shine in this jewel of a tune. This is a prime example of a band working hard to carve out their craft – a rarity in this day of Blink 182 style cash-cows.
On a diversified tip, the band also tries their hand at a couple of acoustic-based numbers such as “A New Year’s Revolution.” Though Minich has a sure-footed handle on the electric tracks, the quieter numbers shed light as he waxes poetic in his confessionals. Here, he exudes sincerity, while shimmering forth memories and insights, allowing him to glow compared with other more syrupy – and more famous – singer-songwriters.
Fans of the emo/rock genre will find much to appreciate throughout this release. The record deserves a warm welcome for the strong musicianship alone. Though Project Rocket does not revolutionize the genre, they have brought a strong sense of sophisticated songwriting lacking, for the most part, with the slough of other recent groups of this ilk.