When: Wed., July 10 2013
THE ROCKETBOYS The Rocketboys take their name from Homer Hickam’s memoir, which chronicles Hickam’s boyhood pursuit of rocketry while growing up in a coal mining town. Like the teenaged Hickam and his experiments, The Rocketboys too often have feet of clay and heads in the stars. Their solid melodies and rising choruses frequently clear the launching pad, but have trouble rising above a low earth orbit. The Rocketboys yearn for big, if conflicted, emotions, and their songs’ swirling, building intros hit that mark early. Yet, once The Rocketboys attain cruising speed, they have nowhere to go. Perhaps Brandon Kinder’s everyman vocals undercut the septet’s sonic grandeur, because songs that strive to uplift merely maintain momentum while flat-lining emotionally. It’s a symptom that plagues similar heartland-infused indie artists like Band of Horses and Bon Iver. The title of the combo’s latest CD, Build Anyway, quotes Mother Teresa, “What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight. Build anyway.” Lyrically, The Rocketboys gather the lemons life has thrown them and start squeezing, and their message of fortitude and resilience is commendable. Yet, once stated, that message evaporates like a vapor trail.