Review: Rocket From The Tombs “I Sell Soul” b/w “Romeo & Juliet”

Although English groups were first to create punk music, it really took off in a big way when American bands started to add their own influences into the style. One band that was very influential was the Cleveland band known as Rocket From The Tombs (not to be confused with the much later band with the very similar moniker of Rocket From The Crypt).

Rocket From The Tombs came together in the mid-seventies to create a new sound, a new feel to the music. And while the original version of the band was short-lived, the musical collective gave birth to two better-known, more popular bands by the names of Pere Ubu and The Dead Boys, bands whose influences on punk are unmistakable. Pere Ubu’s The Modern Dance and The Dead Boys’ Young, Loud and Snotty are still classic albums in punk.

It was during his recent project of Long Live Pere Ubu, the latest project from Pere Ubu, that David Thomas decided that it was time for a new release from Rocket From The Tombs. To record Long Live Pere Ubu, Thomas returned to Cleveland to use Suma Studios. Shortly afterward, the concept of something new from Rocket From The Tombs started to take shape, as former bandmates David Thomas (known as Crocus Behemoth during the time of the band) on vocals, Cheetah Chrome on guitar and piano, and Craig Bell on bass, reunited with the other two members that helped create the 2003 lineup of the band. That lineup is completed with Richard Lloyd on guitar and Steve Mehlman on drums.

The new release from Rocket From The Tombs is a simple two-song 7-inch record. The record consists of the tracks “I Sell Soul” and “Romeo & Juliet”. The two songs were written by all five of the members of the group. And like Long Live Pere Ubu, the record was recorded using Suma Studios with Thomas as producer.

The first side of the new two-song release from Rocket From The Tombs is the song “I Sell Soul”. The track is upbeat, has a great sound to it, and the band sounds invigorated, like they’re grateful to be back together.

But with the second side of the record, “Romeo & Juliet,” the sound changes. If you are at least somewhat aware of what Pere Ubu’s music sounds like, then you know what I mean when I say that the song is difficult to listen to: The music is played at an unusual tempo. Coupled with Thomas’ unusual delivery and his unique vocal quality, “Romeo & Juliet” may take a few times listening to the song before you start to accept what the band is about, musically.

Anytime you hear a release from David Thomas, you can be sure that it will be unique. The new release from Rocket From The Tombs may be best suited to those rock fans that have followed the history of Pere Ubu, as the music is definitely an acquired taste.

However, if you are one who likes to seek out different or unusual bands, Rocket From The Tombs is worth checking out. And keep this in mind- The band members all perform the music with skills that only come with time; it’s just that they have chosen to be a little more “Creative” with their writing than most bands out there today.

This new release from Rocket From The Tombs can be found by checking out www.hearpen.com or www.smogveil.com. While you’re at it, check out Long Live Pere Ubu from Pere Ubu (David Thomas’ latest release) and the self-titled release from Batusis (the current project from Cheetah Chrome) on the Smog Veil website as well.