Thursday, 9 June 2016

Review: The Rain And The Sidewalk – 'Nadir'

Vancouver's The Rain And The Sidewalk are one of those curious bands that come along every so often. As Raoul Duke once said “Too weird to live, too rare to die”. But die they shall as the tenth anniversary of the trio's first outing also sees their final release in the form of 'Nadir'. Blending avant garde, post-punk and darkwave, the band don't so much present an album as a surreal sonic narrative resplendent with jarring samples, thick bass, gloomy vocals, and lyrics reminiscent of Morrissey.

Songs such as 'Sappy Love Ballad...', 'JAC', 'Patron Saint Of Drug Addiction', 'Jekyll Hearts Hyde', 'Pretending Not To Be a Contemptible Jerk & The Evil One', and 'Break' represent the band's strongest cuts with their pulsing bass grooves, great vocal performances and spiky post-punk guitars. While the likes of 'Coyote Falling Off A Cliff/Suicide Note', 'Oversleeping', 'The Last Song', and 'Waiting For A Buss' aren't afraid to get downright weird with their avant garde use of synths and samples to give a deeper and artier edge to the album.

The production is pretty rough and ready with a definite low-fi and DIY sensibility running throughout that gives this the sound of something from 1986 rather than 2016. On the one-hand it doesn't really matter because the songs are so rooted in that era of maverick experimentalism in indie music, but on the other-hand it would be great to hear these tracks as sharp as possible.

Overall 'Nadir' is a joyous little oddity with a genuine artistic sensibility that many bands don't achieve these days. It is rough, and there are a few parts that could have been cut for the sake of consistency, but on the whole it is a really satisfying album that isn't afraid to go off in any direction the band wants it to. It is a shame they are calling it a day, but 'Nadir' is a good album to exit on.  

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