It's a dangerous thing, having the keyboard player stand front-and-center onstage while performing. That physical barrier between player and audience often provides enough fleeting confidence to nudge him or her way over the top when doing the dance/rock-star thing. Often the results of such unbridled enthusiasm prove unwatchable. Alas, such is the case with Rocket Park, and the sight tends to blind the audience to the merits of the band, which, surprisingly, are plenty on their debut CD, the release of which they're celebrating at the Way Out Club on Friday, Sept. 17. The CD, called Teenage Folklore and showcasing the band's love of pure pop, punk, glam- and prog-rock and the combination thereof, along with the confidence to get fancy with them, is pretty impressive for a debut release. Guitars, drum loops, percussion, keyboards, drums, bass, pretty harmonies, etc., merge smoothly, and over the course of the album, the band repeatedly pulls out engaging ideas. Kudos, again, to Mike Martin at the Broom Factory for an excellent recording job; Teenage Folklore sounds incredible.
If you're looking for middle-of-the-road pop, packaged to sell with a solid sound and that crispy, overcondensed production, you could do worse than Linda Gaal and the Six Senses' debut release, So ... You Think You Know Me ... You may recognize Gaal from her stints with the cover bands the UltraViolets and SQuiNT (who, as a cover band, leap decades and genres in a single bound, covering Bob Marley's "One Love," Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me," Alanis Morissette's (gak!) "Hand in My Pocket" and Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca"). Gaal's got some hefty vocal cords that can take on the hits with precision and, er, blind dignity, and she transfers this ability into her own songs. Of course, if you despise the current fare being played on the radio, you'll no doubt find their debut equally uninhabitable, for this hits smack-dab in the middle of the road. The band celebrates the release of the album at the Hi-Pointe on Friday, Sept. 17.