Thursday, March 29, 2012

Good Old War: "Come Back As Rain" (album review)

I really wasn't eager to toss on Good Old War's new album Come Back As Rain.  I had nothing against the Philadelphia trio, I just had no reason to expect that they were anything more than a slightly buzzed-about band that would fade quickly.

Boy was I a fool.  What I got was one of the most varied and, risking hyperbole, masterful albums of the year and a very early serious contender for best album of 2012.

The album's a bit tricky.  At first it sounds like World-influenced stoner rock.  Songs like "Over and Over" and "Calling Me Names", which is as infectious as Ebola, can be compared to the easy breezy vibe of Ben Harper or Bedouin Soundclash.

Later there's a definite roots dominance.  That manifests in the twangfest "It Hurts Every Time" and the galloping "After the Party".

In between we get gorgeous vocal harmonies worthy of Fleet Foxes or The Jayhawks ("Not Quite Happiness"), and hooks you can hang your hat on ("Can't Go Home", the uplifting "Better Weather").

The highlight may very well be "Amazing Eyes".  Oh so rarely does is a song as touching and poignant as this without a hint of cheesiness.  It seems destined to be a first wedding dance song for the PBR guzzling crowd.

Come Back As Rain has almost everything.  It's got a wide range of influences and style.  It has strong, memorable songwriting.  It has sharp hooks.  My only qualm is that "Loud Love" isn't a Soundgarden cover.

Good Old War play the Horseshoe in Toronto on April 20th.

Best tracks: "Calling Me Names", "Amazing Eyes"

Track listing for Come Back As Rain:

  • Over and Over
  • Calling Me Names
  • Amazing Eyes
  • Better Weather
  • Can't Go Home
  • Not Quite Happiness
  • Touch The Clouds (Taste The Ground)
  • It Hurts Every Time
  • After The Party
  • Loud Love
  • Present for the End of The World

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