EP Review – Unraveled by Good At Rockets (2021) (Self released)
If you are a fan of John McCabe it is perhaps a) because you have not heard his quite brilliant soloWhat For EP that was released in September 2020 or b) you do not really do the R.E.M thing.
If you are a fan of his solo work though, I feel almost duty bound to alert you that he has released another EP, this time under the Good At Rockets name which covers his shared output with drummer Joel Cassara.
Thankfully it is still very much McCabe. The sound continues to use an unapologetic R.E.M core and augment it with perfectly subtle twists and nuances. As such we see April add a semblance of fuzz and to it’s ever increasing intensity and Careless Noise dip more than a toe into alt. country and barroom Americana. The musical shifts are never enough to take the overall aesthetic away from Athens, but they do make it unmistakably McCabe.
The very best of the release is the very best McCabe track to date, with the title track, displaying the vulnerability and perfectly imperfect vocals, that dip between jangled melodies and power-pop strains. It is trademark McCabe and never veers to far away from the onset of an earworm chorus.
This sound may not appeal to those who require perfect vocals and modernity, but for those who love emotional intensity amid the jangly aesthetic of early college rock, he will always be one to look out far.