Best CD's of 2011 - January 2012
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
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