Sunday, October 10, 2021

Dez Rocket Blasts You Into Orbit With Ringing Ears With His Self Titled Debut

Possibly the most important article anyone should read before getting into any form of music criticism, comes from the parody website ‘The Onion’ entitled, ‘Pitchfork gives music 6.8’. 

It’s a beautiful slice of satire that serves as an apt reminder that amongst the hackneyed highbrow put downs, enough to fill an opera house, sometimes we should remember that music is entertainment too. Of course it is an art form, and one should treat it with the respect that any art form deserves, but occasionally it is best when writing about it, to remember that it may just aim to be fun, not challenging and a way of escape of the mediocrity of life. 

As we all know anyway, if it were left up to critics, there would be no art.

With this in mind, we look at Dez Rocket’s self titled debut. And in summary, it’s good fun.


If you can get past the spelling, this record is an upbeat, funky array of American alt-rock. ‘Dezert Rocket’ is a fusion of punk, funk and hard rock songs with some big band influences straight from the west coast. The themes found on this record seem keen to deal with self reflection, cleansing one’s soul and paving one’s own path. Often it is a cliché of this genre and slightly contrived at times (“All I want is a new place to meditate/When all I used to look for were new ways that I could medicate”) but fortunately the new-age preaching doesn’t distract from the mosh-ready tunes this album has in droves.


The lyric quoted comes from the second track ‘Fooled You’ which is a haunting, anthemic belter that follows in the footsteps of the high octane intro ‘Lose’. This opener really is aimed to grab the listeners attention and it does – within two seconds, Dez has declared he has “Gotta wreck just one more day then building dreams is all I think about” to a stomping melody of heavy guitars and a driving bass.  The songs are without doubt very well crafted with Dez not only writing them, but playing guitars, bass & synths on every track. His co-engineer Ravi Carman shows up on saxophone on many of the tracks, and it’s this that really brings the album alive. The aforementioned ‘Lose’ has a sax solo where a guitar solo would usually be with a piano part that drag the track closer to 50’s R&B.


Next To Nice’ is still a driving rock tune, but the echo-y vocals & off-beat jazzy sax interludes give it an almost avant-garde quality. ‘Middle’ has a considerably more mellow sound, evoking a more prog-rock influence than punk. These tracks are what really give the album depth and the slight shifts in tone really showcase the craftsmanship of Dez Rocket. 


But if you want funk-punk, ‘Dezert Rocket’ has plenty. From the lead single ‘Shocktane’ that has a build up to the euphoric chorus in a way that would make Royal Blood seem like amateurs. ‘You Caught Me’ capture what Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s had in the eighties, it is a true Californian summertime anthem. The whole album is ready for you to turn off cruise control & drive your convertible past the Hollywood hill.


Though it easily could not have been this upbeat. While recording the album, Dez suffered personal tragedies, such as the death of his father. An earthquake, a house fire and finally a tree landing on the studio, forcing Dez to relocate for completion, all interrupted the recording process. Despite this adversity; Dez has managed to come out with a record that is above all, entertaining. 


The album is not without faults; it does have something of an all-American heart being worn on its sleeve about it. His website promises it to be an ‘alternative to the alternative’, this illustrious claim that this record is entirely new and fresh is a little hyperbolic. Unfortunately, as earlier stated, the lyrics fall foul of this trope at times too. There are comparisons to be made, both past and contemporary, but it is a solid slice of a harsher alt-rock sound that will please fans of that. This record is in good stead to be compared to artists such as Yak, Deap Vally & even Greta Van Fleet. 


There is no shame in creating an album with so many fun, energetic & well crafted songs, it doesn’t have to be pushing boundaries, it just has to get the people pushing repeat. 



Tom Pritchard


Image: Dezert Rocket Offical Artwork


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