Album #198: Rocketship – A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness

  • Released: 1996
  • Origin: Sacramento, California, USA
  • Label: Slumberland
  • Best Track: I Love You Like The Way That I Used To Do

The Duster album Stratosphere (which I reviewed earlier this year) randomly popped into my head yesterday. An internet trail I went on to do with the album led me to a Reddit post saying anyone who likes Stratosphere should listen to A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness, the debut album by Duster’s fellow Californians Rocketship.

I’d have to say I don’t see a huge similarity between the two albums, but nonetheless, I like this record and I’m glad I listened to it. It’s pretty lo-fi, summery twee-pop, reminding me of Yo La Yengo and early, pre-Isn’t Anything My Bloody Valentine.

The opener and closer of this album are wonderful. ‘I Love You Like The Way That I Used To Do’, is a slice of sheer sunshine to get things kicked off with, while the simple and sad ‘Friendships and Love’ brings the album to a beautiful waltzing end. In between, it’s good without over quite hitting the heights of the tracks that bookend it, with ‘Kisses Are Always Promises’ a shamelessly feelgood track for which half the lyrics seem to be “na na na na na”, and “I’m Lost Without You Here” offering more sun-kissed blitz led by what sounds like the winding notes of a cheap keyboard.

A lovely bit of ’90s nostalgia for a sunny Sunday.

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