It can be difficult for a band introducing themselves to new audiences to accurately answer the question “what do you sound like?” Kudos then to West Cork-based group The Good Rain for throwing a curve ball and instead explaining the group “inhabits the spaces between indie and Americana, post-punk and folk.” Whether or not this helps explain themselves, the resulting debut album goes a long way to prove it might be the right place to be.
The opener ‘My Favourite Track’ gives an indication of how mixing these styles works throughout. Folksy guitars blend with singer Klaus Harvey’s Shane MacGowan-esque drawl and builds upon itself do deliver a trad-flavoured acoustic punch near the end. Things continue in this folk-rock vein throughout, punctuated by genre explorations such as the jazz-tinged ‘Blood Red Dress’ and blues-rock of ‘You Can Love Me’, all the while keeping a heavy current of thrashing guitars flowing underneath.
The difficulty in playing to their folk rock sensibilities on many of these early tracks is that they risk some comparison to a certain overexposed, now Grammy-winning folk quartet. Fortunately a sense of fun and humour in the album helps dispel concerns there’s any jumping on bandwagons and instead helps establish their individuality. A commentary on superficiality on ‘All Dressed Up’ and the lovesick ‘Heartbroken By You’ is offset with lyrics such as ‘Rise and Fall’s’ “My Mind was full of desires/That pulled me this way and that/Racing like a monkey drunk on Buckfast” while the inventive ‘Through The Window’ has its tone and melody shift midway to reflect the maddening infatuation found in the lyrics. A varied first half gives way to a more melancholic, gentler second act. Simpler arrangements highlight vocals, particularly impressive in the aforementioned ‘You Can Love Me’. If anything, this half lulls you in until you’re waken up again by ‘My War’, which also teases the group’s full vocal potential near the end.
Parts of Some Other Plan were recorded in St. Multose Church, the oldest functioning one in Ireland, and the influence can be heard most clearly in ‘On You Soldier’, its baroque sounding guitar riff bookending the album. If there’s any type of theme, perhaps this re-purposing of the old for newer times could be it. There also features what might be the best djembe playing of any Irish folk album this year (early days, I know, but I’m going to risk putting it out there). While there is no shortage of this sort of stuff as of late, the amount of experimentation and confidence to stray from convention on offer here keeps the album fresh on repeat listens and more importantly offers up a band to keep an eye on.