The Ueckers – Rocket To Wrigley

  • Bobby Gorman posted
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When I think baseball punks, I think The Isotopes. Their brand of Ramones-core pop-punk merged with baseball themed lyrics and outfits make them one of the bigger “baseball punk” acts around. The Ueckers, with their Mooster Records album Rocket To Wrigley, are trying to throw their bat into the diamond – unfortunately they hit a foul ball.

The first play through, Rocket To Wrigley was just dismal. Low quality pop-punk about baseball, The Ueckers fell flat and the album felt forced. Low production quality, repetitive lyrics and bare-bones pop-punk made the duo’s effort passable and forgetable. Aping off of bands like The Queers, Teenage Bottlerocket and, most prominently, The Ramones – but offering a bad version of all them, I was ready to write off the album completely after the second play through.

Stuck in a traffic jam, the album began playing again and the more it played, the more it grew on me. It’s still not necessarily good, but it wasn’t as bad as I first thought either. The problem, it was quite clear, was that The Ueckers brothers (it is a duo of Chicago brothers) had promise but fell way too short. It starts right from the start with Strike, a song with the potential to be a good introduction had they not dragged it on to unimaginable lengths (and keep in mind, the song is still less than two minutes long with a lengthy audio clip at the start). There’s potential but they don’t know where to end it.

Knucklehead follows with a decent pop-punk beat, but the low-fi quality holds it back a bit before they completely switch it up on the next two tracks. I’m Going Yard is an introduction to an Andrew WK song – keyboards and all – that never fully explodes and the awkwardly placed acoustic follow-up Calling You Out just throws a wrench into everything.

Other than a solid baseball theme, Rocket To Wrigley never really settles on what they want. Theres flurishes of hopefulness – Baltimore Chop for example even though the vocals are a tad nasally – but they’re always a bit short. Trying to be The Mean Jeans without the bite makes the garage-style quality sound cheap rather than intentional.

Repeated listens made the album grow on me, that’s for sure. I could even say I like tracks like Don’t Turn On The Lights and Keep It On The DL now, but as an album in its entirety, I doubt I’ll ever play it again.  I guess you could say they struck out here.