I Am Sonic Rain - Between Whales & Feverish Lights
Record Label: Deep Elm
Release Date: September 14, 2010
Staffer Thomas Nassiff said it best when he wrote in his Mogwai review that “Some music isn't just listened to; it's appreciated.” So many instrumental/ambient CDs should come equipped with this label, because so many great works of art get overlooked because of their lack of vocals or commercial appeal. This is a piece of work that needs to be noted and needs to have ears hear it. Is it groundbreaking? Not really. Is it good and does the band shine? Hell yes.
I Am Sonic Rain are comprised of five Italian musicians who hail from the town of Treviso, minutes away from their sinking neighbors of Venice. While I find it a little more difficult to review an instrumental album, I feel the need for this band to get exposure, to get noticed. Deep Elm, the band’s record label, has started the exposure process by signing them and releasing their work, but the question still exists: ‘How many people actually know of this band?"
Between Whales and Feverish Lights is, in fact, a solid listen. The band carries themselves with energy and charisma, and from the opening track you can hear they are hell-bent on making a great CD. “Fog is Drowning Us”, the second song on the disc, is one of the highlights of this CD, and it’s one of the first songs I heard on the CD when it was released on Deep Elm’s free sampler CD, Postrockology, available on their website for free. It truly is an epic song in every way possible, and showcases everything this band is about. Soaring guitars, smart and delicate arrangements, and when you finish listening to the song you feel almost worn out, in a good way, after hearing an incredible six and a half minute wall of sound.
“It Has the Sound of a Long Goodbye” is just that. I can’t help but imagining a scene in my head of two people saying goodbye, and this beautiful piece playing over it. You can hear the emotion in it and you can truly see that, while it’s instrumental, this band is vulnerable through their sounds and wear their hearts not on words, but on arrangements.
“Precipitate Isn’t a Great Idea” and “When Everything Turns To Blue,” the next two songs, continue the onslaught of sound. Both are unique in their own way, but both deliver what the listener came to hear; heavy guitars, great noise, and most importantly is a good setup for the second half of the disc. “Days All Seem The Same” is one of those songs on this CD that I wonder what it would sound like with vocals over it. The majority of the song is a little toned down compared to its predecessors, aside from certain breaks and the final two minutes, but it has that feeling of something you might hear on label-mate Athletics record if Athletics constantly wrote eight minute tracks with vocals. The good news in it being a little “toned back” is that it doesn’t take away from the feel of the album as a whole. In fact, it adds a new dimension, one that is welcomed.
One running theme throughout this disc is the use of their surroundings. For those who know little about Italy, more importantly the northeastern portion, it rains quite a bit. I have spent time in both Venice and Treviso, and during my two separate stays, it rained both times. It kind of gives a new meaning not only to the bands name, but to their song “As Rain We Fall”. The track is rich in guitar, and throughout the song you can just imagine rain falling. In fact, the first time I experienced this song, it was while driving during a rainstorm. Ironic or not, it added a whole new dimension to the song and even to the disc. “Just To Rise the Day After” might be my favorite track off of the CD. With a simple piano intro, this song builds and builds and builds before finally exploding into something beautiful, something that I rejoiced to hear. While the previous tracks took me on an adventure through sound, this one song took that trip to a whole new level. And it didn’t end with “The Nine Unknowns”, which sampled new sounds and hauntingly uses voices (or what appear to be voices) as an instrument towards the end.
The disc ends with the title track, a seven minute wind down of synth sounds, a fitting end to a heavy, dynamic CD. The beauty of this album is the ability to get lost in its sounds. Each time you listen to it, you walk away with a new feeling, a new sound that you missed the first few spins. It’s an entertaining listen, and for anyone who is a fan of ambient/shoegaze music, you will enjoy this spin. Deep Elm continues to shine with their releases of late, and I Am Sonic Rain is no exception. A solid listen from a band who has a great sound, great musicianship, and now a great debut full length record under their belt.