Robo Jack 2023

Silver Rain

Outlining a new story, Friday Harbor friends find fiery emotions as proof of the future.

One year can bring on significant changes. If the Washington ensemble’s 2003 album "Salish Rock" was all about establishing their name and place on music scene, the devil’s dozen pieces of “Silver Rain” transform all which previously seemed tentative into something precious – so the difficult sophomore offering should be an alien concept to this foursome. No, the group didn’t loosen their grip on tunes that are still intricately arresting and on arrangements that are still genuinely interesting; instead, the quartet focused on each of the stylistic and melodic elements that define their sonic identity and concocted a brilliant set of filigreed cuts to show the band’s freshly sharpened edge to make a faithful follower out of a casual listener.

While the recipe is basically the same on both records – an array of Americana-shaped songs and a couple of instrumental compositions to contrast the collective’s vocal force – their concepts are different. Such numbers as the invigorating “Snake Fog Rise” which opens this platter and segues into its pulsing title track build momentum right from the start, solidifying the players’ vibrancy to create an aural roll where riffs are smoothed with a slider and voices weave a riveting yarn and bloom in a sweet chorus. The musicians stopped shying away from effervescent pop figures now, preferring to use them as support for pure country rock of “Warning Signs” and “Frozen Forest” which may not share a tempo template but shake the audience in equal measure.

However, once Darvis Taylor’s bass notes begin to carry Daniel Day’s deliberately plaintive voice towards the refrain of “Sundown” – through a trip-hop bridge – nobody would expect the ensemble to corral every little sound detail to sculpt an irresistible melodic panorama. Its expanse will paint “Paper White Moon” in symphonic colors, Tom Henry’s guitar soaring to the skies and Scott Sluis’ drums anchoring the foursome’s nocturnal trip before propelling the scintillatingly groovy “Find A Way” to the end of the night. And if “Miasma Theory” initially feels gloomy, there’s light gradually filling the cosmic cut’s rhythmic shifts and dissipating in “Two Ships” that whips up intimate balladry from acoustic waves in a similar way to “Fireproof Girl” that pines through electric lines and “Until I Hear From You” that’s orchestrally uplifting. But then “Cannonade Descends” circles back to the album’s first licks, and “Between Us” unveils a sparkling finale, leaving the listener hungry for more delights.

Just like like the drops of silver rain are supposed to.


February 17, 2024

Category(s): Reviews
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