Jacksonville, Florida-based rock band Big Engine will release its debut record for Pavement Entertainment August 19th. The album, Shot Like a Rocket, is an album that provided it gets coverage from radio programmers, will be rather aptly titled. The fourteen songs that make up this record are a good fit for anyone that is a fan of classic rock from the late 80s and early 90s. Right from the album’s opener ‘Party Like a Rock Star,’ the band will instantly grab audiences with its straight forward, driving sound and equally no nonsense lyrics. The equally rocking ‘Burn It Down’ will have listeners singing and clapping along just as much whether in their living rooms, cars or at the band’s live shows. For all of the energy exuded by Shot Like a Rocket, it also has its more subdued moments. One of the most interesting of those tracks is titled ‘Not Your Fool.’ This track is quite the interesting piece considering the juxtaposition of its searing lyrical content against its more subdued musical side. These songs and the remaining nine not noted here come together to make Shot Like a Rocket a musical ride that any rock and roll purist will enjoy with every listen.
The members of Big Engine give quite the first impression on its Pavement Entertainment debut. ‘Party Like a Rock Star’ is an infectious, full on rock and roll anthem that will be a favorite among audiences whether they’re listening to it in their car or home or singing along with the band’s legions of fans at one of its live shows. The band’s founding members—Tony Mikus and Hans Oellerich—sing about the rock and roll lifestyle here, singing, “I’ve been waiting/For the weekend/To chase these blues away/I’m gonna set my soul in motion/Forget all about these bills I’ve gotta pay/I’m gonna call upon my good friends/Say meet me downtown/No matter where I’m going/It’s time to shake it up/It’s time to get down/I’m gonna sing along/To every song/All night long/Dance on the bar/And play our guitar/And party like a rock star.” This theme of just letting loose after the rigors of the work week is one to which so many people can relate. And who hasn’t wanted to just go all out like that, singing their favorite songs, playing their air guitar? The ability of the band to reach its audiences here both lyrically and musically leaves no doubt that this was the perfect choice for the band’s very first introduction.
‘Party Like a Rock Star’ was a no-brainer for a first impression from Big Engine for its new album. It’s only one of the songs from this record that serves as a solid example of what audiences can expect overall. Another good example of what audiences can expect from this record comes late in the record in the form of ‘Burn it Down.’ This piece has much the same energy as ‘Party Like a Rock Star’ and much the same theme of just letting loose. Mikus and Oellerich sing in this piece, “It’s too late to turn around/Gotta keep my head above ground/Gonna get crazy tonight/No sleep/Runnin’ on adrenaline/I can’t stop/No, I won’t give in/Rockin’ is our policy/And I don’t give apologies/Yeah, we’re gonna party tonight/Well we get a little crazy/And we raise a little hell/then we leave this town/With a story to tell/Gonna raise our mugs/yeah, yeah/We’re gonna drink ‘em down/yeah, yeah/We’re gonna fire it up/We’re gonna burn it down.” This classic lyrical rock and roll theme goes on throughout the remainder of the song. And again, the imagery is classic rock and roll in every way. It would be so easy to see a video companion to this song, with footage of the band out in random bars, playing on stage to huge crowds, etc. Not only that, but it’s just as easy to see this song being as anthemic as ‘Party Like a Rock Star.’ It’s one more of so many songs on this record that any rock and roll purist will enjoy on this record.
Both ‘Party Like a Rock Star’ and ‘Burn It Down’ are good examples of just how much Shot Like a Rocket has to offer audiences. There is one more example of how much this record has to offer audiences in ‘Not Your Fool.’ The song centers on a bad breakup. But the juxtaposition of its lyrics against its musical side is really what makes it stand out. Most songs that are centered on breakups generally have a relatively emotional musical backing. This song is no different in that arena. However, listening to the song’s lyrical side, one can’t help but wonder why the band didn’t option for something more up-tempo, musically speaking, in order to match the song’s searing lyrics. Mikus and Oellerich sing in this song, “You’ll find somebody new/With sympathetic ears/And arms open wide/Yeah someone new to use/Say what they wanna hear/Tear them up inside/And there’s so much I could say/And we could scream and shout/You know I could go on and on but/I’m not your fool anymore/I’ve been there too many times/To pick you up and say/It’s alright this time.” There’s a certain sarcasm and cynicism about these lyrics. And that vibe makes one feel like the song’s musical side should have more power about it. Ironically enough, the more subdued sound that takes its place actually makes it just as impactful. That’s because it creates more of a sense of someone being completely fed up with a certain situation. The end result is a song that has just as much power as any standard breakup song if not more power. That power shows why this song is one more prime example of what makes Shot Like a Rocket an album that any rock and roll purist will enjoy.
Big Engine will release its new album Tuesday, August 19th. In celebration, it already has a handful of live shows scheduled for August. The first of those dates is a two-night stand at The Legendary Boot Hill Saloon in Daytona Beach, FL on August 22nd and 23rd. The band will be in Homosassa, Florida on August 24th and Sanford, Florida on August 31st. Audiences can keep track of Big Engine’s tour schedule and all of its latest news online now via its official website, Facebook page, Twitter page, and Reverb Nation page. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to the Phil’s Picks Facebook page and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog.