It’s 5:30 in the morning. I just got up. So I feel right between being awake and falling asleep again. My stomach says “No coffee, please,” so I made a tea – some herbal infusion. Now I sit on my couch listening to the Head Pain – not mine, but the one Rainbows are Free brought us. RAF, as they are shortened, are a quintet from Norman, Oklahoma in the US, 35km away from Oklahoma City. In Norman, we can find the main campus of the University of Oklahoma. RAF formed in 2007 already and released one EP and two full-lengths so far. Head Pain is their third full-length release.
On Head Pain, we can find eight songs with a playtime of nearly 41 minutes. The shortest track is “The Nile Song” with 3:10 minutes, while the longest track is “Shapeshifter” with 6:45 minutes – the other tracks can be found, of course, in between and are mostly longer than 4:45 minutes.
These are the hard facts, let’s get an overlook about the music. In their self-description, RAFs music is said to be located somewhere between Proto-Metal and Heavy Psychedelia. Ok. So the overall sound reminds me mostly of 70s Rock tunes with a guitar sound between fuzz and crunch. No modern heavy distortion, but I think I can hear either a deep tuning or some kind of octaver lowering the sound of the rhythm guitar – and other effects such as flangers. The bass is very prominent in the mix and gives us a deep and dark base to build the songs on. In total, we don’t hear riffs and licks but most of the time it feels as if the band is trying to create a steady ground for the lyrics and the lead guitar. After these words, don’t listen to “A Penny’s Worth,” that’s quite a typical, riff-based Rock song. “Eunice”, the last song of the album, sounds quite classic, with chord-patterns that remind me of some medieval tracks I know. I like this one a lot, and I think it’s a great way to close an album.
At the beginning of “The Sound Inside”, you might think of Black Sabbath, while singer Brandon sounds as if Monster Magnet’s Dave Wyndorf was doing the Ozzy. It sounds weird, I know, but that came up in my mind first. Sabbath and Monster Magnet – I don’t know why – In my opinion it’s a really great combination, isn’t it? The music, the vocals – I think that fits really well. But there seems to be a third reference in Brandon’s style of singing. On “Electricty on Wax”, the way the voice is used and the rhythm of singing reminds me of Nick Cave. It’s very theatrical, very expressive and intensive. I like this song. Great vocals, nice guitar solo. A really good one.
So all in all I would recommend to take a look at the album, have a try and see if you can handle the variety of singing and the style-mixtures. Some bands try too much, but I think that Rainbows Are Free do their job well, because you can always feel that it is coherenet music by one band the entire time – although there are lot of different influences. I would recommend to listen to the first two songs to get to know the “personalities” of Brandon – in the other songs, he’s one of them or somewhere in between. Additionally, if you like acoustic arrangements, go for “Eunice” in the end as well as a little bonus.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
As usual, we will add the favorite track(s) to our Transcended Review Playlist.