From Nuggets to Neu, Philadelphia’s Bleeding Rainbow Channels the Psychedelic Storm
Bleeding Rainbow isn’t the kind of band you’ll hear on Echoes, but every now and then a new rock album catches my ear, and takes me into a different space that I don’t visit as often as I’d like, mainly because I don’t dig standing in rock clubs. But after listening to Yeah Right, I’d stand in one to hear Bleeding Rainbow.
The conundrum of the contemporary rock group is figuring out just what they’re going to pick from 60 years of rock history to inform their music. Bleeding Rainbow, like The Dandy Warhols, are scholars of rock and they draw from across the spectrum for their kinetic third album, Yeah Right.
The band has cited My Bloody Valentine and the distortion overtone guitar orchestras of Glenn Branca as influences. You can also hear Velvet Underground drones on the opening “Go Ahead” with choked sustained feedback run that threatens to burst out and finally does on the chorus in a roar of Neu!- like fuzz. Krautrock may be another inspiration, from the often motoric drumming from Greg Frantz (who recently left the group) to the joy of guitar noise redolent of Neu! and Faust. This is, after all, a band who listened to The Can Tapes on a cross country tour.
But Bleeding Rainbow makes these sounds their own on their third album, (the first two released under the name Reading Rainbow). Kinetic songs like “Pink Ruff” with roiling overdriven guitar. And that lurches right into the Jesus and Mary Chain cross-cut groove of “You’re Not Alone” with Rob Garcia and Sarah Everton’s chorused and distant vocals extolling a schizophrenic state of isolation.
For all their garage rock/punk conciseness, Bleeding Rainbow can attain the epic and they do that on both “Shades of Eternal Night” and “Fall Into Your Eyes.” The former is a minimalist haiku love song set against a storming rhythm and razor guitar chords. “Fall Into Your Eyes” is a lament of love and transcendence lost with a grinding, shredded guitar riff and one of the more interesting drum grooves of the album.
The psychedelic trip of “Waking Dream” references The Kink’s “Tired of Waiting” in the guitar riff of the verse and then rips into a New Wave chorus that tears you out of your seat, adopting the quiet-loud approach of Nirvana. It’s another song that makes good use of close vocal harmonies layered up in multi-tracked girl group-style choruses by the husband and wife founders of the group, Everton and Garcia.
Yeah Rightt is the kind of advance you’d expect from a group that’s maturing and finding more nuance in their sound. The stripped down, lo-fi-to-a-fault production of their earlier work gives way to a more anthemic, body-shaking sound. Instead of peering at the music through the haze of a washed out Polaroid, instruments are shredding like shattered glass and frayed fabric before your eyes. My Bloody Valentine is an influence, but I know I’ll be listening to this a lot more than the new MBV release. Yeah Right, along with Ulrich Schnauss’ A Long Way to Fall, is one of the few albums that I not only listen to repeatedly, but when it’s over I often go back to the top of the slide again.
~John Diliberto ((( echoes )))
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