CD/EP Advance Review:
RAINBREAKERS - 'Rise Up' on Purple Door
There's much to be said for the efficacy of the EP/CD format in helping to develop a band's own style. You release a few low key EP's in the spirit of testing the market before you take the next step of writing your opus.
In age of instant download and instant gratification the retro format has helped several bands focus on honing their craft and such is the case with Rainbreakers.
The Shrewsbury based quarter bring something very different and unique to the table, as they imbue their contemporary take on psychedelic soulful garage rock with their own brand of retro minimalism infused with lyrical substance.
And its the lyrics that appear to have a significant bearing on their music, specifically in terms of the tempos, the feel, the dynamics the little tensions they build and subsequently resolve at the very end of their 5 track musical journey.
Unlike the high-energy of their debut CD/EP 'Blood Not Brass', they channel their previous alt. rock bluster into a more meditative soulful direction.
'Rise Up' is major step up in terms of their song writing and marks a new maturity that finds them writing from predominantly confessional and emotive perspective.
This inevitably means their narratives balance out aspirations with dashed hopes in relationship songs, but when they focus their gaze on the bigger world platform as on 'Rise Up' they extend their angst to a call to arms on a song that builds up incrementally.
Such is the emotive input into their songs that the mixture of funky grooves and subtle stuttering rhythms and echo reverb of 'Rise Up' and 'Waiting On You' are exuberant examples of the way their essential elements lock together to forge unexpected musical directions.
A bigger budget might have given them a bigger warmer sonic presence - Peter Adams metronomic bass for example, could be further up in the front of the mix and the Charlie Richards 's guitar tone could be just a tad fuller - but that might diminish the cutting edge of the dynamic psychedelic squalls that pepper their songs.
If you were pushed to nail the band's true calling, you'd have to point to their intricate use of minimalism, where each note and sonic nuance is used sparingly but effectively. The end result is that they let their disguised melodies breathe, float and finally gently come to rest on the hook.
It's all there on the northern soul influenced ballad 'Waiting On You'. A tremolo infused opening, aching vocal and deliberately stuttered rhythm gives way to deft psychedelic wah-wah etchings and cool bv's, on a track that evokes retro cool.
The fact the band take their time on the sluggish, but enveloping groove tells you all you need to know about both the importance of feel and their overall musical direction.
They make little concession to prevailing trends, infusing their soulful and garage rock influences with the same mid-tempo feel of 'Perception' as on the previous track, but they take the groove in different directions, before eventually settling for psychedelic soul.
The feather light guitar rises above a beautifully nuanced rhythm track that locks into an early era Floydian groove, punctuated by more guitar squalls, before a return to the emotive vocal.
Rainbreakers have some thing to say both lyrically and musically and Ben Edwards phrasing is elemental to drawing us into the song, which then moves into an uplifting bridge, before a return to the kernel of the song and a perfunctory finish.
They book-end the EP with ' Living Free' which briefly breaks with their minimalist approach with an effective muscular rock riff, before a return to the psychedelic wah-wah used as a sonic trigger rather than a solo. The solo resolution comes with a brief, but venomous gut busting guitar solo.
'Rise Up' is a slow burner that smoulders with intent as it explores deep grooves, big hooks, and a sparkling sonic palette guaranteed to brighten your day. Review by Pete Feenstra