With the lyrics “I sing what I want to sing,” Alex Giannascoli, who goes by (Sandy) Alex G for his music, encapsulates the courageous motif for his newest project, Rocket. This is an album you have to listen to on repeat because you can’t remember how the adventure started and may feel lost when it ends. Rocket is clearly made with an artistic endeavor as the focus because it takes listeners through all major genres in a gritty and jarring fashion. The album goes beyond a pleasurable listening experience.
Giannascoli developed Rocket entirely in his bedroom with his own vocals and guitar. Later, he added other instruments and white noise. The album’s method of creation is apparent in its quality and uniqueness. It accentuates the authenticity and experimentation that (Sandy) Alex G so ardently aspires for with the album.
Rocket begins with somber vocals, repetitive lyrics, and instrumentation on the track “Poison Root” which serves to put listeners in a trance. The song gradually builds, eventually adding a piano, a fiddle, and an indistinguishable ominous white noise over a repeating acoustic run to foreshadow the dynamic album’s nature.
The next three tracks introduce the album’s distinctly dark narratives. The second track, “Proud,” deceives the listener with more upbeat instrumentals and vocals and masks a tale of a suicidal father who fears his death’s repercussion. He states, “If I sink I don’t wanna be the one to leave my baby down without no money in her bank.” “Country” succeeds “Proud” and changes direction once again with a heavier bass and overall denser texture that is more hypnotic than the upbeat “Proud”. This track keeps the lyrics morbid with its gruesome telling of the slicing open of an inmate. The next song, “Bobby,” goes back to the likes of “Proud,” with an emphasis on acoustic guitar and raw, emotion-filled vocals that detail a borderline-stalker love song.
(Sandy) Alex G completely shifts gears for the next three tracks, “Witch,” “Horse,” and “Brick,” by accentuating dark, hypnotic instrumentation with buried vocals. “Brick” is especially jarring. All instrumentals and vocals are distorted to create ear-wrenching noises that create a track worthy of a violent, underground rave that all of the 90’s punk kids would love.
As the listener approaches the eighth track, it is clear that Rocket is not an album for the light-hearted listener. Following the nonplussing “Brick,” “Sportstar” takes on the electronic genre with synchronized vocals completely unlike any of the previous tracks, linked only by familiarly morbid lyrics. The singer states, “I’ll play what I want to play and I’ll say what I want to say,” a warning that would have been more relevant earlier in the album. “Judge,” the next track, uses synths and circular guitar riffs to create the feeling of an 80’s noir film.
Finally, the namesake song “Rocket” fully defines the album. With the fuzzy sound of a turned-on microphone and background noise, the track transports the listener into (Sandy) Alex G’s confusing world. “Rocket” is truly raw and authentic, with unworked instrumentals and no vocals, two terms that Giannascoli says he seeks in composing his music.
The next three tracks, “Powerful Man,” “Alina,” and “Big Fish” seem the most true to Alex and are a departure from the majority of the album that serves as an artistic endeavor to push the limits of genre-fluidity. The tracks feature soft acoustics, a light fiddle, and piano with deeply embedded vocals that detail macabre narratives.
The final track, “Guilty” is an ode to the entire experiment of Rocket as he tests the fluidity of genres one last time. As my personal favorite track, it takes on a brand new feeling within the album by presenting a strong bass variation on the classic twelve-bar blues with hot saxophone, ringing bells, and upbeat vocals played to the rhythm of a shaker. “Guilty” shows that (Sandy) Alex G’s doesn’t care to be pigeonholed into a genre. Even with his last track, he presents a new idea with a more bluesy feeling than any of the rest.
With 14 tracks, (Sandy) Alex G creates the masterpiece Rocket which unwraps itself from a generic do it yourself, experimental album within the first three tracks. Instead, the album creates an academic adventure through many genres and aesthetics. Rocket is an album to listen to for a day of analyzing instrumental notation and dissecting (Sandy) Alex G’s original narratives.