The eponymous debut album can often be many years in the making and for The Rocket Dolls this has certainly been the case, for those who know the band it has been a hell of a fight, but good things come to those who wait and what is a testament to the band is that their music still sounds current in a musical world filled with many new and different genres. In a world whose airwaves (depending upon your station of choice) are filled with classic rock, alt-rock and a variety of genres that end in “core”, there is no doubt that The Rocket Dolls have a fight on their hands with finding the right audience for their grunge rock material, but with ‘Eyes’ they stand the best chance they have got.
Opening with some solid riffs on ‘Poisoned Speech’, this trio show what they are made of and the direction in which this album is going to take us, but not without its surprises.
Nikki Smash’s vocals on third track ‘Delerium (Reprise)’ are a great amalgamation of 90’s grunge, rock vocalists with hints of pop punk.
A frantic drum roll from Benji Knopfler opens ‘The Rope Pulls Sins’, before they return to their heavy guitar sound, whilst Tommy K holds things together with his tight bass lines throughout.
‘Burning Up The Skies’ is their ballad, it breaks from the grungier sound of the four earlier songs with a beautiful, gentle guitar line and sticks to the hard rock element of the band, which exposes the musicianship and vocals more prominently. It has an epic chorus though, which is very complimentary to the verses. Perfect for a Hollywood blockbuster soundtrack, turn stadium anthem.
Title track ‘Eyes’ is unabashedly hard and fast. There is no denying that eargasmic riffage is what The Rocket Dolls do best and ‘Eyes’ is a prime example, with its cracking tempo change outro. This is one of those songs that demands your crank it up to 11 or frankly as high as you can without blowing your eardrums!
‘Waste’ continues in a similar vein to ‘Eyes’ with a sweet panning of the opening guitar line. This is followed by ‘I Can’t Go Back’ which makes me want to invite The Rocket Dolls and a heap of friends for a debaucherous gig in a small garage somewhere.
‘Eyes’ is, at the hands of Nikki Smash, a guitar heavy album there’s no denying it, but in no way does that play down the input of Benji Knopfler or Tommy K for frankly without them it would sounds pants. Their input is more subtle but all the more essential for it.
Dolls do not depart our ears without throwing in something else to knock us off kilter so brilliantly. The opening three seconds of the guitar slide of ‘Across the Night’ had me thinking they were going to launch into Take That’s version of ‘Relight My Fire’, but instead they equally spin me around in the complete opposite direction with a song that blatantly oozes Nirvana. Think of something off their MTV Unplugged album combined with ‘Been a Son’ and a splash of ‘Lithium’ and whilst I yearn for more gravelly vocals on this song, I still love it!
Muhammad Ali said “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines….out there on the road, long before I dance under these lights.” The Rocket Dolls have won this fight.
The album is released at the end of July, with an album launch showon 20th July at The Green Door Store.
Track Listing: Poisoned Speech, Can’t Keep Him Down, Delerium (Reprise), The Rope Pulls Sins, Burning Up The Skies, Eyes, Waste, I Can’t Go Back, I’m Just Too Weak, Gotta Get A Grip, Across The Night.
Band Photo Credit : Marianne Harris