Born out of extensive songwriting for their 20th anniversary, Rocket Scientists' Refuel is the follow-up to Supernatural Highways EP from earlier this year. Unlike the previous release, which was totally instrumental, Refuel is more like a traditional Rocket Scientist album, combining both vocal and instrumental songs.
Also, in the famous Rocket Scientist style this quintessential and entertaining melodic progressive rock. The trio, Erik Norlander (keyboards), Mark McCrite (guitars and vocals) and Don Schiff (Sticks and strings), have the uncanny ability to take individual musical ideas and weave them together prog rock ear candy. Their creation neither neglect the essence of the song nor burden you with meticulous technicality. In the words, all their brilliant prog rock wonkery is subservient to crafting an entertaining song.
In this sense, the vocal songs especially, are nearly power-pop melodic progressive rock. You certainly catch this in the playfulness and groove of Cheshire Cat Smile (featuring Kelly Keeling) and She's Getting Hysterical, but also in the rhythm and subtleness of The Fading Light and The World Waits for you, two of the most delicate numbers. Similar also is The Lost Year which has this quiet moodiness to start, yet finishes this rock groove lead by Schiff's sticks. All this can displays another significant strength of Rocket Scientist: the ability to trick you into absorbing and enjoying some masterful prog rock, which laces through all the vocal songs.
As for the instrumental pieces? Some are merely brief. The title cut which starts the album is a compact fusion of elaborate synths and edgy guitars. Reconstruct, at a mere minute and a half, offers a bevy of strings, cello and viola likely, but also some mandolin in a delightful and spry arrangement. A longer piece, Galileo, written by Norlander revolves greatly around his keyboard, and his ability to make you a genuine lover of synths in his creativity. Curiously, for the first time, I have to say that I wasn't all that impressed with a Scientist song. The lengthy Rome's About To Fall lost me in the middle where it became abnormally gentle, almost sleepy. Nevertheless, essentially then, what you have in Refuel is Rocket Scientists simply being themselves: masters of their music, wizards at creating pleasant and intriguing melodic progressive rock. Recommended.
Essentially, what you have in Refuel is Rocket Scientists simply being themselves: masters of their music, wizards at creating pleasant and intriguing melodic progressive rock. Recommended.
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