City Rain – I’m Gone Record Label: Independent
Release Date: October 11, 2011
How could I possibly introduce you to Philadelphia electronic surf group City Rain? The writings on their Bandcamp and Facebook pages suggest two very mellow, philosophical individuals (who, it should be noted, also seem to enjoy taking off their shirts). Mellowness is only half the equation of I’m Gone, though, a surprisingly focused set of songs that doesn’t let that get in the way of taking a few interesting roads.
But before we get to the end, we start at the beginning. The title track is a slight creation, but it serves as a fitting entry point into what City Rain are trying to achieve here. Mellow guitars are woven into a buzzing bed of electronics while the lyrics coming in hazily through filters and all sorts of production tricks, washing over the track in a dream-like trance.
The deeper into the five-track EP City Rain goes, though, the more confident they get. After the opener, we segue right into “How Do You Like Me Now?” Fittingly, this song sets a much more bombastic tone right off the bat, with thudding drums pounding their way through anarchic synths and confused guitar noodling. The interplay between word and sound increases the impact twofold, and the track takes some very twisty paths near the end which rival any highs Kyle Andrews has ever hit. The midpoint of the EP hits with “Watch Out”. Perhaps the best track here, it’s a constantly shifting, evolving beast of a track, effortlessly juggling rhythmic guitar with dark, sweeping electronics and later molding its ingredients into a slick, club-minded jammer.
The EP ends on a happier note than it begins on. “Digeridoo” takes a while to hit its stride (the electronics and acoustic don’t melt into each other as well as they’d like in the beginning), but once it settles in, it’s a warm and fuzzy turn on the sound we’ve been introduced to in the preceding three tracks. The usage of rawer, less hyper-produced vocals near the end is an interesting if not wholly convincing touch. Finale “Real Good” features perhaps the clearest, brightest production on the release and puts it to good use in an affirmation of finding happiness after the loss expressed throughout the previous four tracks.
For the restraint in instrumentation they exhibit here, City Rain has a surprisingly diverse palette of tones and tools at their disposal. The question remains if they can expand their playspace even further from here or if they’ll succumb to the fate of ghosts of indie electronic artists past. If I’m Gone is any indication, however, these guys are in it for the long haul.
Random plug: If any of you guys are interested in getting recommendations to awesome free indie music, come swing by wasfuersohr.blogspot.com! We cover a legion of different genres and artists, so no matter what your tastes, I hope you’ll find something you like.
I've known Jarrett since City Rain just started pulling stuff together. Been to more than a few shows and had the privilege of sharing the stage with them before. Awesome to see them getting coverage here.