Rain City Rockers Mayday Review
written by Robert Farrell
Aristotle said… a long time ago, that ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’, however this quote from… a long time ago, does not often ring true when it comes to supergroups, the nomenclature in fact is often so misleading that expectations are generally too high to reach.
Rain City Rockers don’t feel much like a supergroup, though they fit under the umbrella of the definition; they don’t reek of duelling ego’s or internal conflict and their debut record Mayday, does not come off sounding like a room full of musicians trying to shout over each other, it sounds exactly like it should coming from members of Sum 41, Die Mannequin, GOB and Goldfinger – a catchy blend of garage rock and pop-punk.
One thing that will make this a great listen for both fans and newcomers alike is it’s feeling of familiarity from opening track Mindful Madness, to full-on pop punk closer Change of Pace, the former of which really introduces the elements of the record; power pop guitars, 60s ooh-la-la-la backing vocals and solid, reliable drumming. It really feels from the first listen like a record you are already comfortable singing along to with your friends. Pre-album single Saint Babe is a definite singalong stand out, but beyond the vocals – the entire band and overall production sound really tight knit, highlighting the garage rock influence of the entire record perfectly.
Second track On My Own shows the albums slower side which is followed later with She Doesn’t Even Know and Disgrace steering the album away from familiar criticisms of pop-punk in that ‘it all sounds the same’ This record has enough varying tempos and unique hooks to sound different in a sea of similar music, all too often bands take their two good hooks and spread them thin over a whole album but that is definitely not the case here.
The heart of the album is without a doubt, up-tempo songs with catchy hooks, notably Choked Up and Who Do You Think You Are, the latter being a real stand-out with Andrew Conroy’s vocals hitting the strong vocal hook hard. Following track Monster is perhaps the most Green Day influenced track but when it is sandwiched between two of the best songs on the album, the latter being Disgrace – it’s easy to glaze over the passing overfamiliarity. The penultimate track entitled Tori is perhaps the biggest change of pace, introducing a Ska element not really seen on any other track and still manages to fit in, but it would have been nice to see this theme extend to a few more songs.
Change of Pace brings around the end of the album and ties the previous ten songs together in a neat parcel. To add to it’s list of credentials; Mayday was recorded in it’s entirety, live in one take, an impressive feat for any band but especially for a debut, meaning what you hear on the record is what you will end up hearing live, all too often bands lay overdubs and effects thick over the tracks – ending up with an un-reproducable sound when it comes to taking the stage. Overall this is a killer of a debut record and even though it was created by seasoned musicians it still manages to maintain the rawness and fresh feeling aesthetic of a debut record, and Rain City Rockers’ music sounds all the better for it.
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