- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

Rick Springfield, “Rocket Science” (Frontiers Records)

Rick Springfield sprinkles the sounds of country music across his 18th album, with banjos, steel guitars and mandolins underpinning electric guitars and his energetic vocals on “Rocket Science.”

Even at age 66, Springfield has been working hard, building up his resume like a Boy Scout trying to earn an elusive merit badge.

A stint on the second season of HBO’s “True Detective,” a role opposite Meryl Streep on “Ricki and the Flash,” a novel and a well-received autobiography have still left him time to release a new album every couple of years.

The Australian native also performs some 100 concerts a year and it’s that propelling drive which stands out on “Rocket Science,” the thumping opener “Light this Party Up” and over-driven banjo showcase “Miss Mayhem.”

More subdued though hardly laid-back are mostly acoustic “Found” and “Let Me In,” lifted by its chorus. “Crowded Solitude” and “That One” are among those tracks reflecting the countrified sound.

“Rocket Science” is familiar from the start, maybe a bit too familiar, with songs containing elements from across the pop landscape, flavored with those bits of country twang. It sounds great but it’s definitely not rocket science.

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