Victory Kicks – Rockets for Ghosts album review

They call themselves a “lo-fi rock & roll band” which, once you’ve heard the new EP, sounds a bit like self-deprecation.  This identification is of course no longer an indicator of inferior quality, but a classification that lumps Victory Kicks’ genre in with Elliot Smith, Iron & Wine, The Smiths, and the list goes on.  Still, it is worth mentioning that the quality displayed in style and sentiment on Rockets for Ghosts is anything but low fidelity.

Take the album title for starters, a throwback to the mid-forties Scandinavian ghost rockets—a series of missile-like objects that somewhat inexplicably descended from the sky in remarkable frequency.  It’s the sort of perplexingly shrouded tale that keeps you reading, and peaks your menial interest to up-all-night resolve.  It’s also a suitable EP title for an emerging band whose media presence is, by modern standards, slight.  Mysterious if you will.  A means of letting the music speak for itself perhaps.

Another noteworthy quality to this seven track Extended Play is the fact that it was recorded at home.  Sure it’s becoming more common, and the things you can do these days with ProTools and GarageBand are remarkable, but the discipline, experimentation, and trial and error required to pull it off with the finesse and imagination existent on Rockets for Ghosts is nothing to scoff at.  (Exile on Main Street, perhaps the most famous in-home recording, certainly didn’t come together without a struggle.)

From “Dive, Dive, Dive” to “Exit Industry” the music develops.  It gets louder then softer, then broader then narrower—it twists and shape-shifts and leaves you feeling good.  Yes, good.  There’s a gentle repetition to most tracks that the lyrics uphold and the instruments echo.  It’s standard, yet revitalizing.  Rockets for Ghosts is like an intelligent (think Scarface ’83 not The Karate Kid ’10) remake—you know the story, but you’ve never heard it told quite like this.

By Erin Ginder-Shaw

Erin Ginder-Shaw is a writer from the East Bay who loves scribbling about music and listening to words.

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