Built To Last is another Rock N Roll Purgatory band that has been tremendously influenced by the rockabilly movement. This influence is shown in the very distinctive, upright-soudning bass lines of “Monster Truck” and “The Best”. Lead vocalist Phil creates the distinctive vocals, a mixture of Tiger Army, Nekromantix, The Misfits and even Reel Big Fish. In an odd change from the norm, Rocket 350 really has the bass filling in for the time-keeping aspects and heavy sound of the drums, allowing the drums to really approach the higher register of things. Even if the overall arrangement of things is different than what is common form currently, Rocket 350 are careful to couch this in a way that is still very radio friendly.
The bouncy beat of “The Best”, coupled with ample amounts of repetition are more than enough to bring listeners to their cause. The only major hurdle that block Rocket 350’s progress on “Built To Last” has to be the extreme similarity in the construction of Gary’s bass lines. It is understandable that there might be a certain way to play the bass in rockabilly, but that does not meani that there is little room for expansion of that sound. The tone of the first tracks of “Built To Last” begin to slow more to a halt as the creative process slows down; it takes a more punk and country influenced song in “Hit and Run” to shake away the cobwebs and really create something new and exciting. In “Hit and Run”, Rocket 350 is able to come up with the same sound that made Social Distortion such a hit in the early nineties – simplistic lines coupled with compelling vocals – and even expand on that formula with the inclusion of a little more dynamic type of bass during the track.
Overall, Rocket 350 comes up with an always-compelling album in “Built To Last”, one that does have its problems (some repetition in the song-formation) but ultimately is victorious in its goals. When Rocket 350 kicks on the afterburners and inserts the smallest bit of punk to their general sound is when the band succeeds the most on “Built To List”; allowed to slow down, the band tends to slip dangerously close to a rut. Finishing off the disc with “Song 13”, the band is able to close “Built To Last” in a decidedly different vein then how it started, with perhaps the most audible inclusion of country influences on this disc.
Top Tracks: Life of Sin, Song 13
Rocket 350 – Built To Last / 2005 Rock N Roll Purgatory / 13 Tracks / http://www.rocket350.com / http://rocknrollpurgatory.com / Reviewed 25 July 2005