Rocket Fuel Is the Key

Rocket Fuel Is the Key hasn’t released an album since its 1996 debut, Consider It Contempt, and its follow-up remains rooted in that era’s indie-noise aesthetic. The Kansas City band blends garage-rock velocity with rhythmic shouting and feedback-fuzzy solos. It’s a sound that doesn’t need updating, especially because few groups have mastered it. With the exception of the six-minute standout “Under My Skin,” which builds from sparse verses (variations on the phrase I get under your skin over a thunderous bass line) to a series of wall-of-noise climaxes, Stroke surges throughout. Scott McNearney coaxes siren tones, spacey melodies and sludgy grooves from his guitar, and drummer Billy Johnson (also of Shots Fired) alternates between propulsive rolls and measured thumps. Stroke carries some dead weight — the rock-star bash “I Wanna Be Like You” feels rote, and the minutelong blurt “Out the Door” is a superfluous palette-cleanser — but after a decadelong hiatus, Rocket Fuel probably wanted to squeeze as much as possible out of its recording sessions. — Andrew Miller

Categories: Music