TITLE: BACK ABOVE THE CLOUDS
LABEL: RAIN RECORDINGS
WORDS: COLIN CAPP
It is clear what Warmrain’s mission statement was with their long awaited debut album; to make a concept album which can be held in such high regard as legends of the genre. Taking influence from giants such as Pink Floyd and The Who, frontman Leon J Russell knew exactly what he wanted to create for the band’s first full length release.
Warmrain burst onto the scene in 2011 with a debut gig at High Voltage festival alongside EP ‘Absent Friends’. At this time Barack Obama was still at the Whitehouse and nobody was even talking about Brexit, so it is clear to see how much has changed in 8 years. Warmrain have put the wait down to personal issues alongside perfecting the story and concept behind the album. It’s been worth the wait, as a clear story which flows well is presented here.
“IT’S BEEN WORTH THE WAIT”
Despite the huge time gap, two songs from that first EP have found their way onto the album, showing how long this idea has been in Russell’s head for. Both ‘Absent Friends’ and ‘Flying Dreams’ feature having been re-recorded the way they were originally envisioned. The new recordings achieve in making the songs sound fuller and help to make the album flow and it certainly does not feel like these are songs which were written long before the conclusion of the album.
Opener ‘Fading Star’ suggests the progression the band have made since these songs came out, using distorted guitars to build into a frenzy of riffs, creating an interesting and engaging prog song. ‘I Should Be Seeing Stars by Now’ boasts the level of song writing which the band are capable of blending plenty of musical changes into one of the stand out moments of the album. Another highlight ‘A Hundred Miles High’ stands out of one of the most calm and dreamy moments, leaving the listener in a trance.
It seems there is a clear structure taken with every song. Acoustic and electric guitars intertwine beautifully, whilst the rhythm section gradually build the song into an explosion of sounds. Over this Russell’s soft vocals narrate the story behind the concept, however at times this creates a certain predictability and begs for a change from the same musical ideas.
“the band have done a great job of creating something they can feel proud of”
The most bizarre moment on the album comes from the title track of the bands last EP, Eurythmics cover ‘Here Comes the Rain Again’ which gets an extended version on the album. The song is virtually unrecognisable from the original and the band have done a brilliant job of making the song their own, however it doesn’t flow with the concept and you can’t help but feel like it may have been better left off the album.
As with most prog music many ideas are explored creating long songs, with only 4 of the albums 15 tracks clocking in at under 5 minutes. When tracks feature different sections and explore fresh ideas is when this album shines, however many of the songs repeat ideas and sections leaving the temptation to press the skip button.
For a debut album with such a bold statement behind it the band have done a great job of creating something they can feel proud of, despite there being room for improvement Warmrain have produced a confident and ambitious prog album.