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Form Of Rocket
(Some Records)

Take part math-rock, part metal, part indie geek rock, and part sloppy bar rock and the resulting stew of sound might be something like Form Of Rocket. I have to admit not really knowing anything about the group before hearing this release (they've also self-released an earlier full-length), but they've caught my attention with Lumber, a shape-shifting chunk of huge riffs, weird timing signatures, and sometimes flat-out absurdist humor.

Any release that opens with a track called "Sack Of Smashed Assholes" is going to turn heads, but the group backs things up with almost dizzying riffs that stop, start, and change direction with wild abandon. Singer/guitarist Curtis Jensen doesn't add much in the way of vocals other than some Tourette's-style obsenities and pretty much indiscernable screams, but it actually works given the music. "And They Were Young And Randy" follows it up with the same pummeling attack, sounding something like a remix of the first track in which the huge riffs and dramatic pauses and yelled vocals all have be re-arranged to solid effect. These are the sorts of songs that probably got the group by just fine in biker bars (where they were discovered by the Some Records).

The group has a good sense of dynamics of hooks, and gets by pretty well on both. By the time the middle of the album hits with "Living In A World Of Change And Shit," though, things bog down just a little too much with yet another sludgy riff and an even slower rhythm. Fortunately, the group completely changes things up with "For The Judge," dropping the electric guitar riffs for a back-porch crooner that is easily one of the best songs on the album. It's the lone track on the album with such a quiet structure, but it makes one wonder if the group could pull off more gems just like it if they wanted to.

The latter part of the album is right back into the chugging pieces that opening the disc, and the quality alternates quite a bit. "Brain And Eggs" again gets caught in a slower quagmire of sound, lurching along for almost 7 minutes, while "I Would Sell You For Crack" busts loose with three minutes of swerving riffs and scream-along vocals. The album-closer of "The Positive Power Of Negative Thinking" again works there spastic formula of angular guitars and herky-jerky rhythms before collapsing into an entended squall of feedback. While the group obviously isn't taking themselves too seriously, delving into pure nonsense can also be somewhat of a turnoff over the course of a 45-minute album. Although they definitely have the chops and dynamics down in places, there just isn't enough variety to make the album a must-have. It might be a bit much to ask for more quiet moments like "For The Judge" spilled amongst their Oxes-like guitar thunder, but that quiet change really opens up the middle of the disc and it could have used something else like it elsewhere. Still, if you like your power playing and free-for-all stylings, you'll definitely find things to enjoy here.

Rating: 6.5