1995 was Rocket's year of sheer productivity -- no less than three separate major releases, counting the fantastic The State of the Art Is on Fire EP, not to mention another slew of singles. The rarest of the three is for many the best, the limited-edition vinyl-only release Hot Charity. Just under half an hour long, this particular album has never been reissued on CD, though it's been sought after more than a few times by obsessed fans, while Japanese and Australian special editions of other Rocket albums have included tracks from it on bonus discs. Starting with the dramatic slow build of "Pushed," making for an almost cinematic opening to the proceedings (helped by the fact that it's an instrumental), Hot Charity smokes from the start and takes special care not to let up. The recording quality sounds fantastic, the band is as playful as it is utterly hard-edged, and everything, simply put, rocks. There's the party grooving of "My Arrow's Aim," with some smart guitar playing increasing the nerviness as everything gets more driving, ending up in a great, strutting chorus interspersed with Apollo 9 and JC 2000 blowing like fiends. Or one can just simply let the amazing blend of Reis' vocals and the backing singing from others on the downright soaring "Guilt Free" do its work. Slower grooves aren't forgotten, like the twangy, measured kick of "Feathered Friends," piano adding to the wooziness here and there. Mostly, though, it's music like the addictive handclap/rockabilly bass and echo leading into the rip-roaring "Lorna Doom," quick, amazing end solo and all, which leads the way, and that's nothing to regret in the slightest. In lieu of a wider issue, this is one to search for -- either in and of itself or on the Internet. ~ Ned Raggett, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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