POZ Review: A Rocket To The Moon – Wild & Free

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A Rocket To The Moon’s newest album, Wild & Free, makes it really hard to believe that the rock band hails from Massachusetts: the band’s strong country influences complement their rock and roll antics. Since the release of 2009 full-length album, On Your Side, the band has bunkered down in Nashville, getting in touch with their wild and free side.

Essentially, A Rocket To The Moon wants listeners to embrace the feeling of being wild and free while listening to all 13 songs on the record. On opening track “Going Out,” Nick Santino sings with a country twang about howling at the moon and getting crazy with his best friends. Justin Richards tears up the guitar while Eric Halvorsen picks the bass and Andrew Cook bangs on the ole’ drum set.

At first, “First Kiss” sounds like it could be an old Taylor Swift song before Santino’s vocals come in, and it ends up being a more sentimental tune that will appeal to sensitive hearts everywhere. Personally, it’s not a favorite— in fact, it kind of kills the album’s mood.

Luckily, “Whole Lotta You” picks the vibe back up, lifting listeners’ hopes with airy acoustic guitars. Santino is addicted and he just can’t get enough of this girl: he sings about being “buzzed on [her] love” and stuck on the taste of her bubblegum kisses.

While it makes for a cute song to sing along to, Santino comes on a little too strong at times. “Nobody wanna be alone tonight, so come on and take me home,” Santino sings repeatedly. Is that a request or a demand? “Gotta leave all your worries out that door / ‘Cause life ain’t nothing but a big dance floor,” he concludes. In the spirit of being wild and free, we get it. Just tone it down a bit.

Similarly, “Ever Enough” is a solid rock ballad full of ridiculously clichéd lines. Santino is hanging on a line, drowning in love, and he’s gonna “drink ‘til [he’s] he’s drunk”. Will it ever be enough? Probably not.

As if that’s not enough, “If I’m Gonna Fall In Love” asks the same questions again, instead tackling the subject of settling down and falling in love the old-fashioned way. This time, it has to be “more than just enough”. Next, “I Do” tells the tale of being madly in love with a girl who “changes [her] hair color every week” and whose “Sunday’s best is a holy pair of jeans.”

From there, the album really leaps from the soundtrack to a country bonfire to the lonely walk back home from the afterparty. “Another Set Of Wings,” “Wherever You Go,” and “Somebody Out There” are more stripped down than the rest of the tracks, embracing the simplicity of a man and his guitar. Santino tells a genuine story on each track, engaging the listener with boisterous choruses and gorgeous melodies that are irresistible to chant along with.

On Wild & Free, A Rocket To The Moon smoothly transitions from pop rock to country without losing any authenticity. As a whole, the band has matured since the release of their first album. Life-changing experiences have certainly inspired their newer work, opening up a side of them that fans probably didn’t even know existed. That’s a pleasant surprise for fans of the band, and should soar far above any original expectations.

*This review was composed by Sydney Gore and edited by Erik van Rheenen

★★★.5/★★★★★

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