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In orbit


Photo: Chris Phelps

In the winter of 2010, things were looking pretty good for Austin, Texas’ The Rocketboys. Then half the altrock sextet walked out, worn out and abused from the exhausting tour schedule that got them to that point.

The Rocketboys looked doomed to crash and burn.

“There was a lot of not knowing what was happening,” front man Brandon Kinder said. “We knew we wanted to make another record. We just didn’t know how to go about doing that. It took a long time to figure out just how to be a band again.” Luckily, the remaining members found a way to emerge from the rubble, vowing to move forward with a three-man nucleus, refusing to change the name.

“We didn’t want anything to change.

The music is going to be a bit different just going from album to album, but we still wanted to be The Rocketboys,” Kinder said. “We had a lot of momentum that we didn’t want to let go of.”

Kinder and company not only retained that momentum, but gained even more traction with its latest album, the aptly titled sophomore offering, Build Anyway.

“It comes from a quote Mother Teresa made famous. One line says, ‘What you spent years building, some one could destroy overnight. Build anyway.’ That says it all,” Kinder said. “We’ve been a band for so many years, and everything just kind of stopped, but we knew we had to keep on going.”

And in many ways, the weight shed has proven to be more of a benefit than a detriment, especially in terms of songwriting.

“We got to throw out anything that held us back before. We were restrained by this ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ approach to songwriting,” Kinder said. “With this new one, we could step out in directions we’d never tried before. They still have The Rocketboys center to them, but there are new types of sounds and melodies we might not have been able to do before.”

Landing somewhere in that gap between Snow Patrol, Death Cab for Cutie and Brand New, Build Anyway was constructed on a solid base of big, meaty indie anthems. Given the drastic shake up in the makeup of the band leading into the record, The Rocketboys feel like they reached for the moon and landed among the stars.

“The fact that it happened at all was an accomplishment,” Kinder said. “We knew we wanted to write big, indie-rock songs, and I think we did that pretty well.”

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