CD Review: Drew Ross “Rocket Science”

Posted: October 11, 2012 in Music
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ImageRocket Science from Drew Ross is an unusual release, as it has two different parts (on two CDs) that help make up the album. The first CD of the release consists of the music tracks created by Ross. These tracks with Ross contain only the singer-songwriter and his guitar. These guitar-only music tracks allow the songs to be heard as he had written them. This CD also gives the impression of seeing a solo singer-songwriter in a very intimate setting, like seeing a friend in alone in concert.

The second CD of the Rocket Science album contains the same songs as the first CD of the album, except that these tracks have been stripped of Ross’ guitar and have a totally new musical background added to them. These new backgrounds for the twelve album tracks have been created by an English duo that goes by the moniker of ecopunk. The band ecopunk consists of Brighton-based Tim Rose and Lee Sharp. With Rose and Sharp taking complete control of creating their take on the music on this album, there is much more depth to the songs than had they been created by one singular musician.

Both of the versions of Rocket Science begin with the track “Charlotte’s Dream”. As an opening song, the 25-second track featuring only the acoustic guitar comes across as a rather strong Folk-based instrumental. But once the electronics from the duo known as ecopunk are added in, the resulting 30-second track now comes off as a slightly long instrumental jingle. This is a slightly unusual way to begin this album. Of course, this is a slightly unusual album.

One of the best songs on the album is “Alone”. And whether it’s the solo version by Drew Ross or the version of the song created with the help of ecopunk, the song has a beauty that will hit you immediately after putting the song on. With the version by ecopunk, the duo of Tim Rose and Lee Sharp have taken the most liberties with the song adding a strong electronic feel to the song while still staying somewhat close to the feeling of the acoustic version from Ross. And the additions to the chorus on the ecopunk version give the song a much fuller sound. The two versions of the song may have the listener fighting with himself as to which version is the better of the two.

With the track “Beautiful Lie,” the listener gets not one, but two strong tracks. As the solo track by Drew Ross, the track feels like a stripped-down “unplugged” track about a man who cannot accept that the woman he has feelings for does not love him. When the track is handed over to Tim Rose and Lee Sharp, the two build on what Ross had sent them. The music featuring acoustic guitar is replaced by electronics that help to create a track that sounds as if it would have fit right in with songs in the New Wave era of the eighties. There is most definitely a British flavor to the track that helps reinforce that New Wave feel. Whether with the ecopunk version or the stripped-down version by Drew Ross, “Beautiful Lie” is one of the shining moments on the Rocket Science release.

Another song that will grab you because of the large difference between the acoustic and remake versions is the title track of the newest release from Drew Ross. “Rocket Science” sounds like a completely different song once Tim Rose and Lee Sharp got ahold of it. Since the song is mentions science, the electronic feel of the ecopunk version really makes use of the science theme of the lyrics.

It is on “Words” that you really get a chance to experience the power of Drew Ross’ writing style. With the acoustic version of the song, the beauty of the words shines through; when Tim Rose and Lee Sharp add their touch to the song, the music seems to add an even more touching approach to those lyrics.

The two CDs both come to an end with the same track, “Rainy Day”. While the original version once again features the omnipresent vocals and guitar from Drew Ross, the ecopunk version of the song takes the tune and creates a love ballad version of the song. The keys and strings on the version found on the ecopunk CD gives the song a beauty that adds a lot of substance to the album.

Drew Ross’ Rocket Science album makes wonderful use of the two versions of each song contained on the release. The two very different CDs give the listener two dramatically different sides of the music of Drew Ross.

Whether you listen to each song on Rocket Science album twice playing the acoustic versions back-to-back with the ecopunk versions or you play the acoustic CD out completely before going after the ecopunk CD to hear the difference in the album as a whole, Rocket Science from Drew Ross is the perfect way to experience how a song is shaped in the writing and production process before it ends up being combined with other songs to create that newest album from your favorite singer-songwriter or band. And the differences between the two versions for each song on this album are drastic in many cases, creating an album with two completely different feelings.

To listen to the music of Drew Ross and the songs that appear on this album, check out Drew Ross’ Reverbnation Profile.

  1. […] To learn about Drew Ross’ Rocket Science album, click HERE. […]

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