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Rocket From The Tomb
Barfly
Fire Records
www.ubuprojex.net/rftt.html


Rocket From The Tombs (RFTT) have a storied history that, until recently, was all but forgotten in the annals of punk rock history. RFTT had a locally acclaimed but mostly forgotten run in their hometown, Cleveland, Ohio between 1974 and 1975. They disbanded with little fanfare and members went on to form two legendary representatives of American punk rock's first wave - The Dead Boys and Pere Ubu.

RFTT reformed in 2003, releasing a live-in-studio recording of songs from their time together in the seventies (Rocket From The Tombs Redux) and touring the U.S. They played and recorded together over the ensuing years and that work culminates in the 2011 release, Barfly.

With Barfly, RFTT manage to recreate the magic of punk rock's early years. You can hear a brand new genre striving to define itself - reacting to and detaching from its own influences. There are hefty dollops of sixties garage rock, classic country rock, and rockabilly all mixing together while, at the same time, colliding with each other - creating what in the early seventies was an entirely new form of music.

In 2011 Barfly is something of an odd time capsule. It's as though recording engineers jumped in a time machine, set the dial for 1974 and, using modern recording equipment, plugged RFTT in and hit record.

Instead of a crappy 1974 recording, remastered from someone's copy of a copy of a copy of a cassette, we get a pristine 2011-quality document of what punk rock sounded like in its earliest days. I know I sound like an anthropologist but that's exactly how this record makes me feel. Barfly is the musical equivalent of finding a village frozen in time by a volcanic eruption. It is a glimpse into the past that we're not often privy to.

In addition to illuminating the past, Barfly holds the key to the future. You can hear what became the harder-edged traditional punk The Dead Boys represented, and the tribal rhythms and experimental ramblings that became Pere Ubu.

RFTT's Barfly presents itself as a timeless record-a musical documentary that interconnects three generations of punk rock.

-George Dow

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