Few Milwaukee albums in recent history have drummed up as much pre-release hype than the self-titled debut from Space Raft. There are plenty of reasons for that: The band’s résumé is top-notch (members have done time/are currently doing time with Call Me Lightning, Whips, Mystery Girls, Circles, and Temper Temper); and the record’s first single, “We Are Not Alone,” is the kind of song that begs to score countless joyfully bleary summer porch parties. But does the full record live up to the fevered anticipation? Is it as good as everyone has been hoping? Will it surely be one of the best Milwaukee albums of 2014? Yes it does, yes it is, and yes it will.
Big guitars, bigger hooks, and ’70s/’90s power-pop goodness (think Big Star and Matthew Sweet) are the order of Space Raft’s day. It’s a record that isn’t afraid to embrace a slightly psychedelic bent and a faint whiff of stoner-friendliness (there’s a sci-fi concept album buried somewhere beneath the surface, Atari-style), and a debut that exudes the effortless confidence of seasoned pros. Singer-guitarist Jordan Davis, bassist Srini Radhakrishna, keyboardist TJay Christenson, and drummer Tyler Chicorel scatter countless examples of rock-solid pop craftsmanship throughout the album’s nine tracks: Dig the minor-chord swoon of the chorus in “Evening Glow,” the textbook power-pop guitar intro to “Rescue Mission,” and the triumphant outro of closer “Waves Of Frustration.”
Before the album is released May 13 on Dusty Medical Records, and before the band celebrates the impending release May 10 at the Cactus Club (with Doug Tuttle, Technicolor Teeth, and the Get Drunk DJs), listen to the whole kit and kaboodle below, only at Milwaukee Record.