The Rocketboys’ “Wellwisher EP”

“‘Wellwisher’s’ got a penny for you to toss, a well wishing for an exultant journey and a safe arrival on a higher plain.” -HE

Holly Etchison

out of 10

The Rocketboys
Wellwisher EP
November 2, 2010

On the Wellwisher EP, the four song follow up release to 2009’s 20,000 Ghosts, the Rocketboys succeed in shooting to the stars and hovering for a good while. There’s no denying a few Coldplay/Rocketplay moments–check the lifting opener or the hauntingly peppy “Southern light,” but as Mute Math (and Chris Martin for that matter)-mania swept the indie-and-not-so-indie nation in the past few years, I think we all decided: it’s nice to feel hopeful and sincere once in a while. I’m certainly not turning down any moments of transcendence the music world has to offer; hand me a thermos of Tang, I’m boarding this ship.

A quick takeoff is offered on the just new wave-y enough “A Narrow Place.” The fusion of rapid drum beats, guitar licks like some the Edge first grabbed from the airwaves, and piano with grounded, ethereal vocals is tight. Try and stop yourself from singing the song’s confessional “I say I’m strong/ honest to God I’m not / it’s a tune I’ve taught myself” out loud and see if you don’t feel like flying out of your seat with Brandon Kinder’s reaching voice.

“Brothers” is nothing if not an anthem of unity. The choral refrain “If you’re going down, we’re going down, we’re all going down as brothers/ like one thousand coins spinning around one of their own as brothers” is easy to imagine singing a cappella, arm and arm with concertmates in a large venue. Refreshing, yet not annoying–a hard combo to pull off.

The fast train, trees flying past guitar pace beginning of “On The Other Side” recalls John Mark McMillan’s “Skeleton bones” for an instant, but transitions swiftly to a floating reverie. It seems to offer a peek above and through the cloud cover, musically and lyrically: a choir of voices, Oh oh oh oh’s, and a world where you’re stronger, calmer, brighter comes briefly into view.

You don’t have to miss your water when the well runs dry —Wellwisher’s got a penny for you to toss, a well wishing for an exultant journey and a safe arrival on a higher plain. Or, as I dreamt last night, this Austin quintet and company are saddled up, sitting on the fence of a horse ring, waiting to take you for a ride beyond the sunset (and when an entire band makes it into your dream, you just may have something to reckon with).

-Holly Etchison, November 11, 2010