Given the doom and gloom of the world of late, it was beyond wonderful to attend the joyful indie-pop album launch of local Brissie band The English Rain.
Held at hidden Fortitude Valley speakeasy King Lear's Throne, on Ann Street, on Thursday night (24 September), the band launched their first longplayer 'Echoes Of You’ – a long-awaited 'brighter than sunshine' 12-track debut.
With the band co-founded by Steve Boom and Neil Steward (The Nightwatchman and The Psychotic Iguanas), the album features local singer-songwriter talent Alister Bell of Speedstar, Hayden Andrews of Cheap Fakes and upcoming alt. country artist Cassi Marie.
Forming one, big love-in, Boom and Steward invited guest musicians they were fans of to form a collective that evolved and morphed depending on the songs.
The combination of voices and jingle-jangle guitars hits the right notes, with feel-good alt. country and joyful indie-pop reminiscent of The Monkeys, The Beatles, James, Tom Petty and The Go-Betweens.
Bell was only going to sing one song on the album, but the trio hit it off so well, he stayed on for six glorious tracks.
On the album Neil and Steve play everything from bass, guitars, synth, piano, string arrangements, drum programming – with Jason Millhouse of Recordworks Studios, playing multiple instruments alongside producing and mixing the album.
A clear standout is The Go-Betweens/ Grant McLennan tribute 'My Town' – a love-song to lazy Brisbane days.
Steve said he was inspired to write the song as a tribute to McLennan upon hearing of his death: "I was lucky enough to work with, and get to know Grant during my time at EMI, until his sad passing in 2006. I received a call and instinctively picked up the guitar and started writing the song."
Other highlights include the bitter-sweet 'Baby Please', with gorgeous harmonies from Cassi Marie and Alister Bell, the brighter than sunshine 'She's A Rainbow'
, and the gospel-funk, toe-tapper 'Matter Of Time'.
Rounding out the album is the unexpected but very welcome down and dirty, rockabilly track 'Swamp Girl', with hints of Bloodshot Bill and The Ding-Dongs. Bluesy guitar solos rev up rockabilly engines to a slinky 'swamp woman'.
While Boom and Steward started the album with no intended theme, the end result is a joyful cohesive collection of songs that reminisce about days past: "Many of the songs deal with memories or echoes if you will, of people have moved on from your life, whether romantically or other situations.
"We are really excited for people to hear these songs, and with the range of styles, most people should be able to find a song they like or that resonates with them."