Rocket Propelled Gorillas are a 5-piece grunge/rock-pop outfit straight outta Norn Arland, based in Belfast, if the almighty Facebook is to be believed. Regrettably, I don’t think that’s entirely accurate after listening through their new EP Alchemy. As far as my take on it goes, there was little or nothing in the way of grunge.
It’s a two-track EP, so for RPG, all of their eggs have been split up, but only in half. With a release this short, we hope they’ve gone the way of quality, seeing as how they’ve disregarded quantity – but I definitely won’t complain in that regard. Give me 2 good songs over 5 mediocre ones any day of the week and I’ll be a happy man.
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“Sedation” starts off all innocent, with an indie edge, but don’t let that fool you. Beneath a verse that, in all honesty, doesn’t do a whole load for me, lurks a mammoth pre-chorus and chorus to the scale of 16th century French satirist Rabelais – FUCKING GARGANTUAN. Back to the verse, the vocal melody seems a bit drawn-out, but with a voice this powerful, it’s not that much of an issue. All in all, it’s a strong, hooky rock track with more than enough to satisfy most in either the pop or rock camps, while maintaining their own identity. Sedation is gritty enough to still feel raw – almost live – but polished enough, with enough mainstream in there that not only rockers will see the appeal.
“Nowhere to Run” opens up with a sliding, distorted guitar riff that could be anything from Queens of the Stone Age to Gram Parsons – okay, maybe not even remotely Gram Parsons, but it’s a little bit country. It’s not my cup of Jack Daniels and Toilet Duck, to be blunt – which I suppose means I didn’t love it, or the outro, while I’m on the subject of the few things I didn’t really like about the track. It’s another strong chorus all over, RPG is a band that has that much down for sure.
Again, we’re treated to a resounding, powerful vocal the whole way through. I guess it must be hard to be a female frontman (don’t say frontwoman… that’s not a thing according to me, Jack Donaghy, and the Oxford English dictionary). No matter how much you don’t sound like Joan Jett or Debbie Harry, you may end up being compared to them. Instead Rocket Propelled Gorillas have their own sound. It could use a little work here and there, but that is by no means, a bad thing.
So here’s the big question: What’s there to get excited over about this release? It’s a pretty simple answer. RPGs are something different, something original and while I don’t think they’ve stumbled onto their best just yet – there’s a few bad habits here that need a bit of polish, like drawing things out a little – I’d bet one of my testicles that elusive ‘something seriously good’ is not far off. In fact, the more I listen to this EP, the more I like it and the closer that big break seems to be.
(Metaphorically speaking, of course)