[POP ROCK] The fun of Rocket 3's debut album, Burn, is in its contrasts. Framed by singer Ramune Nagisetty's crunchy power chords and sweet, hazy vocals, the album leans toward rock-inflected pop that'd fit right in at college parties, roller-derby matches or as the soundtrack to beach scenes in '90s teen movies. Though it frequently wanders into bubblegum territory, with energetic choruses delivered via delicate, trilling vocals, the album is also built on a solid foundation of jangle pop and grunge. The juxtaposition doesn't grow old, even as the songs sound more familiar by the album's end.
Part of this familiarity makes sense: The three-piece frequently nods toward its influences, with covers of the Velvet Underground, the Sex Pistols and My Bloody Valentine making their way onto the tracklist. Interspersed throughout, though, are standout originals that trade the "stuck-in-the-garage feeling" for that of reflective outdoor adventures. Take, for instance, "Catch Me," a track shaped by easy, breezy harmonies, a bouncy, almost surf melody and hopeful lyrics of new love. Then there's "Mountain Song," which floats along like a melancholy lullaby, riding gentle waves of minimal guitar, Nagisetty's heartbreaking croon and imagery of mountains and stars.
Burn ends with a loud, beefed-up rendition of My Bloody Valentine's "Only Shallow," which strikes a stark contrast to the punchy pop rock of the rest of the album. If there's such a thing as a good kind of whiplash, this is it, as the band pushes its candied, grungy sound to ever-heavier, even more sugary heights.
SEE IT: Rocket 3 plays Secret Society, 116 NE Russell St., with Citypools and Charts, on Saturday, Nov. 15. 9 pm. $8. 21+.