The Family Rain - Under The Volcano (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
THERE’S a point early on during The Family Rain’s new album Under The Volcano that they sing in typically brash fashon: “Don’t waste your time on me, I will only let you down.” Yet don’t take that as an indicator of what to expect from the album itself, as this is far from a let down!
Explosive as all good volcanoes ought to be, this is a bolshy collection of rock and indie anthems that channel the brashness of British bands like Kasabian and early Arctic Monkeys with the gutsy grit of American acts like The White Stripes and The Black Keys. And that’s not bad for a band who, in an earlier incarnation, channelled the glam-rock of The Darkness!
In current guise, Bath-based brothers William, Ollie and Timothy Walter, display a ferocious intensity that seems to have come from their time in the studio with producer Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys).
They’ve already flexed these particular pecs with brash singles Trust Me… I’m A Genius, which may not hit the genius heights but nevertheless employs gutsy guitar riffs and works them into an anthemic chorus complete with wild woo-hoo’s guranteed to crowd-please, and Pushing It, which drops that early Kasabian vibe with some robust, kick-ass guitar licks and a really tough sound.
But perhaps the album’s better material is that which hasn’t been unveiled as yet. The aforementioned Don’t Waste Your Time On Me, for instance, is a brooding, slow-burner that offers a rare heartfelt moment. It builds in anguished fashion and just keeps getting more and more disconsolate… the aching vocals giving rise to a Jack White-style inspired finale and some raw, gutsy guitar work.
And Binocular displays a lighter sensibility in its richly melodic riffs and quasi-Beatles vibe, albeit that it’s a song about a stalker!
On My Back, meanwhile, drops the kind of hand-clap vibe and classic rock ‘n’ roll energy that trades on comparisons with both The Black Keys and Give Out But Don’t Give Up era Primal Scream. It’s just a screamingly good track.
There’s also Together, which strips things back early on to adopt a self-consciously Strokes vibe, before slowly building towards a head-rush finale that you may not have been expecting – evidence of their ability to mix things up within the confines of a single song.
Elsewhere, though, another former single – Reason To Die – drops the kind of opening riff that Kasabian would be proud of (as well as some belated, psychedelic wailing) and immediately delivers its particular kind of head-rush. It’s an instant anthem in waiting, complete with expansive chorus that proclaims menacingly “I’ll give you a reason to die”.
While album closer All The Best operates as a self-conscious ‘tear-jerker’ that flirts with both Phil Spector Wall Of Sound and Motown, embodying the kind of soul-rock of AM-era Arctic Monkeys.
All in all, Under The Volcano erupts with some pretty incendiary goods.
Download picks: Don’t Waste Your Time On Me, Binocular, Reason To Die, On My Back, All The Best