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Rain Parade - Last Rays of a Dying Sun

  by Kimberly Bright

published: 25 / 10 / 2023

Rain Parade - Last Rays of a Dying Sun
Label: Flatiron REcords
Format: CD


One of the best original Paisley Underground bands, The Rain Parade, is finally back with a tremendous new album after 38 years

The Paisley Underground has been enjoying something of a renaissance after being ignored in favour of Los Angeles’ noisier, more histrionic music scenes for so long. After a strong and influential career with one of the Paisley Underground original bands, The Rain Parade, it took until 2012 for guitarist Matt Piucci and bass player Steven Roback to return to the stage for live shows. Bands such as My Bloody Valentine and Ride have hailed The Rain Parade as major influences for several years. In the interim Piucci and Roback have worked together on other projects, such as music with Viva Saturn and The Hellenes, in addition to appearing on a Paisley Underground compilation in 2018 with The Bangles, The Three O’Clock, and The Dream Syndicate. Guitarist John Thoman has been with the band since 1984 and worked on Piucci and Roback’s various side projects, but Roback’s brother David, who co-founded the band and later worked with Mazzy Star, Rainy Day, and Opal, died in 2020. The current line-up includes Derek See (Gentle Cycle/Chocolate Watch Band/Dean & Britta) on guitar and Stephen Junca (Hellenes, Billy Talbot Band) on drums. A lot has happened since the mid-’80s, but the signature sound of the band still sounds as good as ever. ‘Last Rays of a Dying Sun’, their first release since 1985’s ‘Crashing Dream’, was mostly recorded in Oakland, California at David Lichtenstein’s (son of pop art artist Roy, a colleague of Piucci’s father) 25th Street Studios, with overdubs done at producer Jim Hill’s studio in LA. It contains all the lush harmonies, jangly guitars, and a mix of dreamy psychedelia and folk rock that one could hope for. The ‘60s nostalgia and aesthetics never really went away, and it doesn’t sound like all that much time has passed since their debut album ‘Emergency Third Rail Power Trip’. Bangles Vicki and Debbie Peterson provide extra vocals, as do the Moore Brothers and Thom and Greg. Other guests include Mark Hanley, plus Darian Sahanaja (from The Wondermints) and Rob Bonfiglio, who both currently work with The Beach Boys, on backing vocals. The backward guitar, Eastern scales, Indian instruments, and otherworldly effects on the title track create a lovely, flowing atmosphere, which continues on the colorful kaleidoscope of ‘Green’. ‘Angel Sister”’ is an indie-rock meets Hendrix blast of an album opener. The trip-gone-bad or nightmare ‘Got The Fear’ breaks the easy pastoral spell, with a taste of Pink Floyd flirting with actually going mad. “Everything you know is everything that you let go” could easily be a Floyd lyric. ‘Share Your Love’ is about encouraging reconciliation. ‘Sunday’s Almost Gone’ and ‘Forgetfulness’ evoke a sleepy spring afternoon with the sun shining through the trees or a clear night sky. With the album title itself and repeated lyrical themes, The Rain Parade conveys a feeling that something is about to happen to the world in general, maybe the solar system or the entire universe, so we should cherish simple, natural moments of beauty like these.

Track Listing:-
1 Angel Sister
2 Last Rays of a Dying Sun
3 Couldn't Stand To Be Alone
4 Bring You Back
5 Got The Fear
6 Share Your Love
7 Sundays Almost Gone
8 Green
9 Forgetfulness
10 Other Side of You
11 Left the Fire

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