On Your Side

On Your Side

Braintree, Massachusetts emo pop quartet A Rocket to the Moon is the brainchild of frontman Nick Santino. Santino’s palatable voice is boyish and melodramatic but he can also croon with a defenseless timbre that’s more believable and honest sounding than many of his musical peers. If he sang slightly less emotively on the opening “Annabelle,” the tune would be a straight up power-pop number in the spirit of Weezer or Fountains Of Wayne. By the chorus of “Mr. Right” it’s evident that this guy can write a memorable song with honed hooks that grapple on barbs of confidence. Even the more overtly sappy moments like the upbeat ballad “On a Lonely Night” divert attention from the lyrics with tastefully chosen/played instruments and arrangements — a subtle slide guitar compliments the solos here and Australian singer/songwriter Caitlin Harnett’s hayseed harmonies are sweet on the ears. The romantic title track bookends the album with alluring piano notes that nicely contrast with more complicated vocal phrasing, ending on a tone that’s more dusky than sunny.

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