I’d seen their “Staring at the Sun” MV on tv for some time, and was pretty impressed with the early Bryan Adams-esque sound of the lead singer. Then again I wasn’t so sure that they weren’t just some pretty-boy band who could play a few instruments so decided that rock was their forte.
So? I bought the album…wowzer! Impressed! A cursory first listen left me thinking, a more hard rocking version of Matchbox 20 or even, ballad-wise, Maroon 5. I honestly didn’t expect such classic 80’s rock from a bunch of skinny boys in their early 20s, plus the raspy vocals of the lead singer which reminded me of the earlier days of Bryan Adams, with some strains of a not-so-hard Skid Row in between some of the tracks. And yet, even so, there’s a strain of funkiness that brings to mind…Jamiroquai. Or am I thinking too much, as usual?
A look at their official website impressed me even more, they’re English! No offence! ^_^ i love England and Englishmen, but she’s not exactly famous for such radio-friendly rock sounds, and Rooster’s sound was pretty American the first few times I listened to it. It’s too bad that the influences listed by the guitarist Luke Potashnick (Jimmy Page, early Eric Clapton) don’t show up too much in the ‘A-sides’ (mainly collabarations between Potashnick, lead singer Nick Atkinson etc).
The A-sides are fantastic, don’t get me wrong, although the sounds there seem more mainstream, probably reflecting Nick Atkinson’s influences of more popular American bands Aerosmith and Guns N’ Roses. The funky, bop-able and imminently foot-stompable sounds are perfect for live concerts and a great hook for fans new to the old school rock sound IMHO. The first few tracks are catchy and radio-friendly, yet just manage to escape the traps of sounding alike and being relegated to the bins of commercialized rock.
The B-sides, however, are where you do start hearing Potashnick’s influences in the guitar licks and solos of tracks such as “She Don’t Make Me Feel” and “Angels Calling”. Not being a professional musician, I can’t describe what it is I hear in them, but it’s these tracks that have got me hooked. My only grouse is that the bassist doesn’t seem to, and has yet to, play a major role in the music arrangement, I would have loved to hear some heavy bass beats in it.
The mixture of old-school guitar-heavy rock and funky beats may not be a totally new invention, but it’s a refreshing change from the R&B and hip-hop sounds of the past few years. Are we seeing a new generation of rock music with Rooster? I hope so, it’s bound to be an interesting change.