While it seems like every week or two, we learn of some new musical genre, there are still bands who recognize some fundamental elements that make the overwhelming power of rock ‘n’ roll so irresistible. Rokets hail from Helsinki and have channeled the Hellacopters (around the ‘Payin the Dues’ days), Motorhead, and other action rock forefathers so convincingly that this EP needs to be heard. While they are not reinventing the wheel, they are taking the template that comes with a fistful of rock ‘n’ roll and giving us 5 reasons to celebrate the power of rock ’n’ roll. I think it is impossible to not be smiling when this EP ends, which is also why you hit the play button again so you can hear it all over again.
‘Speed & Sound’ revs up the engine and then storms out of the gate with some excellent guitar riffs by Sakke Vanttinen as Jaani Kaukonen lays down the rhythm guitar. Sami Mustonen possesses an awesome vocal tone that fits this style perfectly. There is an edge to it but also an ability to create some really good vocal hooks. Not to be outdone, the rhythm section of Georgios Aspetakis (drums) and Heikki Nyman (bass) gets plenty of room in the mix and will get your body moving. It is no secret that I am a huge Electric Frankenstein fan, and this EP constantly gives me the same kind of rush their EP’s and albums do. ‘Burn to Death’ may initially feel like a little bit more of the same approach as the tempo feels like being shot out of the cannon, but the verses give the vocals a little more space, and there is more meat on the bone of the chorus here. The magical moment for me though follows the second chorus where there is a breakdown to a quieter interlude, and Vanttinen lays down an awesome solo that finds me in air guitar heaven each and every time I play it.
‘Rest in Beast’ lays down some thick rhythm guitar while the riffs fall a little bit lower in the mix. While this would seem to be counterproductive, it works extremely well as it gives the lead guitar even more authority when it gets turned up in the mix around the guitar solo. If there is a fault in the song, it is that the two minutes fly by too fast. My possible favorite from the EP follows in ‘Loose Cannon’ which initially with the bass and drums reminds me a bit of an AC/DC beginning before the guitar riffs let loose and take us from 0-70 mph in an instant. The riffs recall the likes of the Hurriganes or Chuck Berry if he had been exposed to the joy of action rock. The hooks are huge here, and my whole body is compelled to move every time it plays. Final track ‘Lost Control’ slows the tempo down a notch with a great staggered beat giving the band a different feel, and I love the section where Nyman gets to really let the focus be on the bass before some more great riffage by Vanttinen gets an extended solo section in this three minute epic. One final chorus bashes in our heads and leaves us craving more.
While the Rokets do not do anything new here, they have clearly identified their sound since forming back in 2017 and do it extraordinarily well. If you enjoy a fistful of powerful rock ‘n’ roll, the Rokets should hit the sweet spot just like they did for me. You might want to make sure anything that’s breakable is out of the room though because these songs will get your body moving. The EP even has a really friendly digital price so get this one in your rotation now, and let’s play the crap out of it.
‘Speed & Sound’ is available now.
Author: Gerald Stansbury