‘Rise Up’ is the latest release from Rainbreakers, the Shrewsbury quartet that have had pigeonholers up and down the country fretting over which department to point the band towards. Are they Blues? Rock? Soul? Or go for what’s behind door number four – a healthy mix of all three. Fusion, I believe the Jazz Club board members call it… nice! ‘Rise Up’ has an easy going vibe. Quite a change from the Southern fried tinges of ‘Gone’ from 2014 or the heavier blues rock of 2015’s ‘Blood Not Brass’. Kudos to the band for mixing it up, as the vast majority of ‘Rise Up’ is as far away from blues rock as I am from hitting the target weight my doctor demands! Hey, it’s Easter, okay! Is there a sub genre called alt-blues rock? Is that where Black Keys et al get lumped? Anyway, back to ‘Rise Up’…
Five tracks for a fiver, not too shabby, as bargains go. ‘On My Own’ kicks the EP off with a very laidback, smouldering vibe. Rainbreakers have been mentioned alongside the likes of Free and Bad Company, but apart from their incredible cover of Free’s ‘Fire And Water’ I don’t really see the connection. Talk about putting a young band under some pressure! Any comparisons to anything involving Paul Rodgers, Paul Kossoff and Mick Ralphs will just heap it on. A tad unfair, methinks. The closest I can come is that parts of ‘On My Own’ might echo shades of the Free classic ‘Mr Big’, but there it ends. The playing is immense however, especially the delicious wah wah from lead guitarist Charlie Richards. Vocalist Ben Edwards has what I can only call a classic British rock voice, restrained but confident. The title track highlights this. Someone needs to put a call out to Jools Holland, as this track is perfect for ‘Later…’. Just don’t let the host ruin it by sitting in on it, yeah?
‘Waiting On You’ and ‘Perception’ melt into each other to make up a nine minute, easy like a Sunday morning, smooth vibe. The guitars are shimmering, the rhythms from Sam Edwards and Peter Adams are simple but precise, and the vocals ooze class, as they wash over the listener. If you’re getting ready for a night on the lash, this is not the soundtrack, but when you wake up upside down on the couch and need something to bring you round, these two will do the trick. Closing track, ‘Living Free’ is closer to the band’s previous output and the live performances that saw the band nominated as Best Emerging Artists 2016 at the British Blues Awards. The guitars scream, the riffs are massive, and after the mellow, blissful preceding nine minutes, they are heaven sent.
‘Rise Up’ is available now. For details on how to purchase it and more information on Rainbreakers, head over to the official website
Review: Dave Stott
Image: Mark Lloyd