This is the fourth album from France’s BlackRain and it has been produced by Jack Douglas, a name that I’m sure will be familiar to PlanetMosh readers thanks to his work with such rock icons as Aerosmith and Cheap Trick.
Due to his input the sound may be a little more slick and commercial than their previous output but the songs are still the same mix of down-n-dirty sleaze, LA glam and catchy choruses and if that’s your “thing” this album comes highly recommended by me.
Opener Back In Town goes straight into it, with a punchy riff and those lovely dirty vocals, whereas Mind Control starts with an AC/DC-inspired riff and then kind of slithers into your ears. This was my favourite track on first listen, but to be honest there are so many good songs on this album it soon got superseded!
Killing Me has a slightly slower intro, some sneaky violins and a really powerful wailing guitar sound weaving through it. Run Tiger Run is in similar vein only with a piano intro and a slightly faster beat.
It’s the next track Puppet On A String that has become the standout track for me though. This really is what BlackRain are all about. It’s catchy, fun, and you just can’t helping moving to it. I’ve found it has become a bit of an earworm, and I keep bursting into snatches of the singalong chorus at odd moments throughout the day since hearing it. Anyone who has heard me sing will know that this is not a Good Thing!
Words Ain’t Enough is a weaker song in my opinion, maybe a little too slick and poppy, so it’s a good job we have Eat You Alive after it to balance things out! With its slightly out-of-tune fairground tune intro that then gets incorporated into a riff throughout the rest of the song this one is pure cock-rock glam. Close your eyes and you could be listening to Motley Crue circa 1985! Home is therefore another contrast, having a slow, ballady vibe about it with a bit of acoustic guitar in the background rather than the usual in-yer-face electric that this band do so well. Oh and the lyrics are black. I mean really black, and rather desolate. Singer/Writer Swan seems to be channelling his inner goth for this one.
Covering a well-known song can always be a bit of a gamble, particularly if you are following in the footsteps of a giant such as Eric Clapton, so the inclusion of For Your Love is an interesting choice. They actually do a very good job of it, it’s hard to make a song that is so well known completely your own but they certainly put a BlackRain stamp on it rather than just blindly copying the original, and it works rather well. Fade To Black, despite also sharing a name with another well-known song, is a true original. It’s a slow burner, opening with some more piano and then speeding up a bit and featuring some rather splendid harmony vocal work further in.
Electric Blue again has a nod towards a very commercial, pop-rock direction, and it’s extremely catchy. As, despite the title, is Rock My Funeral, which has that bouncy beat and singalong chorus that I am now coming to expect from this band. If a funeral is meant to be a chance to share happy memories of the deceased then this song is actually rather apt after all!
Final track One Last Prayer is another ballad with another strong chorus and probably qualifies as an anthem rather than just another album track. It’s got that “wave your lighter in the air” feel to it, and winds down the album nicely.
Overall a strong album that showcases a band who are very good at what they do, and a worthy addition to any record collection – especially mine!