::The Lost Patrol::



Best CD's of 2011 - January 2012
Samuel Smith

Rocket Surgery

The best CDs of 2011, pt. 3: Platinum LPs


The Lost Patrol - Rocket Surgery

I don’t really know what to say here. TLP has been one of my favorite bands for several years now and after a painful personnel shakeup a few years ago they have continued to improve as a unit. On her first outing with the band, singer Mollie Israel did a nice job but the overall effect was a bit disjointed. She’s good, the guitars are good, the songs are good. All good, but not all fully integrated. It was like with a basketball team that had never played together. Great individual talents, but not yet a team.

Boy, has that changed. Israel has more than grown into her spot at the microphone – she has become the sort of dynamic face and voice that can take a band to the proverbial next level. And maybe the level after that. Meanwhile, Stephen and Michael have allowed plenty of creative space for her to grow into. It’s clear that they weren’t interested in just finding a new singer. They wanted a new, fully invested, completely equal partner. And that’s where the phrase “more than the sum of the parts” comes from.

I’ve gone back and forth on Rocket Surgery ever since its release. It’s a fantastic piece of work that displays all the trademark elements the band’s fans have come to love. It also exhibits both a lyrical and aural expansion (note the instrumentation and arrangement of “Sweet Ophelia,” for instance) that signals an intent to evolve. This is very good news. As much as I have loved Stephen Masucci’s signature cinematic surf-twang guitar sound, I also value a drive toward creative growth in an artist.

On the other hand … dammit, I just loved 2010?s Dark Matter so much. I always want each CD to be better than the last one, but I’m not sure I can make a call between the two. So there it is. My big criticism: Rocket Surgery might not be better than Dark Matter.

Looking ahead, 2012 feels like a big, big year for TLP. They were featured on an episode of Gossip Girl last night and are queued up for a couple of significant movie soundtracks in the coming months, including the Amy Heckerling vampire comedy Vamps. There can be no question that Rocket Surgery affords the band an exceptional springboard to that next level mentioned above.







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