DIFFERENT LIKE YOU - Rocket Science (High Spot/Fuse)
There are high hopes for Album Number Four for Melbourne's Rocket Science and the available evidence points to that faith being well placed. "Different Like You" shoots for that difficult place between righteous garage jams and commercial radio palatability and squarely hits the mark.
It's been years since the last album and you can put that down to a freak onstage injury in which singer/keyboardist Roman Tucker bumped his head and ended up in a coma. The prognosis was not good (some predicted he'd end up a drummer) but thankfully he made it back to full health. Things weren't helped when their then-label withdrew support. Rocket Science's momentum was dealt a blow however, so "Different Like You" is something of a career watershed.
The first thing to say is that it sounds great. Guitarist Paul Maybury has taken up the production cudgels with the band retiring to his own studio to do the business. Tucker's vocals are prominent but not unnecessarily so and Maybury's achieved a live buzz and presence that packs lots of punch.
The single "Psychic Man" had more snarl and grunt than a hotel roomful of National Rugby League players after closing time with a bevy of welfare mothers in attendance. You can expect more of the same (with slightly more decorum) from most of "Different Like You" with rock blending with occasional forays into hooky pop on "Talking To Machines", "Sinful Cowboy" and "With You I'll Be Someone". Unlike NRL rugby league stars when their wives confront them after their roadtrip, the poppier tunes never lack balls.
Maybury's guitar gets the fuzz quotient only pushed to 11 on "Jukebox Junkie" and it's a real stand-out song. "Alive" vamps it up in vaguely "Paint It Black Style". The album's real wig-out moment is in "The Clones" where Tucker's hands gets busier than a Sydney cop on point duty during peak-hour as they hover over his theremin. Hey, at least he doesn't play a flute.
Is it just me or does the middle part of "Weekly Dreams" sound uncannily like Midnight Oil with a theremin in tow? Or maybe those mushrooms The Barmaid served up with dinner weren't bought at Woolies.
Props to the engine room of Kit Warhurst (drums) and bassist Dave Gray. Now I hate to be a smart arse but if there was ever an excuse to smoke a cigar, wear googley glasses and tell bad jokes, there it is just there in Dave's name. But back to the point of this paragraph and dated jokes about local comedians aside, these guys swing like Dolly Parton's bra on the clothesline during a gale.
I accidentally read a review that criticised "Different Like You" for a lack of songs. That reviewer had to be listening to a different album. These tunes are as strong as any on the previous albums, maybe moreso.
It's true that "Different Like You" won't cure cancer, improve the image of the Chinese Olympic Committee, roll-back global warming or even make Tom Cruise a credible talk show guest, but it will satisfy garage rock fans the world over. - The Barman
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