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RECORD RACK

October 08, 1995|Robert Hilburn

ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT

"Scream, Dracula, Scream!"

Interscope

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Big things were predicted for Rocket even before tastemaker Interscope Records signed the San Diego band in 1993. Any group that draws inspiration from the Beatles and Black Flag (as well as Graham Parker and the Ramones, and more) seemed destined to attract a following in the fractured rock world of the '90s--or at least make interesting albums along the way.

In its first formal album for Interscope, Rocket unleashes an explosion of energy that is remarkable for, among other things, the way it blends in key moments mainstream accessibility and alternative rawness. Mixing everything from horns to occasional strings, blues and punk, Brit pop-rock and surf celebration, Rocket makes music that is more expansive than Green Day, yet more jagged and urgent than Soul Asylum.

Sometimes you wish singer-guitarist-songwriter John (Speedo) Reis would give you more clues to where he's eventually headed with the band, but there is a collective force that builds--from the bittersweet "Used" to the anthem-like spirit of "Born in '69"--with roller-coaster speed, inviting you at almost every turn to get on board.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (e x cellent).

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