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Rain Falls in Grey by Radio Massacre International
Review by Ernest Lilley
Date: 02 October 2007 List Price $18.98 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Radio Massacre International Official Site / Cuneiform Records Page / Show Official Info /

"Space Rock" is a weird blend of progressive guitar and electronic music which incorporates a nod towards SF themes, so it's only a mild stretch for us to review Radio Massacre International's newest album here. It's called Rain Falls in Grey and it's their second album with Cunniform Records. In part it's a tribute to Syd Barrett, founding member of the British progressive rock group Pink Floyd, who died last year.

In Space Rock, no one can hear you scream. Listening to the first few minutes of the title track, "Rain Falls in Grey" I had an overwhelming attack of Déjà Vu. No, I'm not saying that I think the music is derivative, just reporting the facts. Déjà vu, that trippy feeling that you've been there before. Well, the latest release by Radio Massacre International is unquestionably trippy, but it's unlikely that any of us have ever been where it goes before.

The album is dedicated to Syd Barrett, creator of Pink Floyd, and it's an electronic/rock cacophony of discordant screeches, echoes and hoots that would put any sane person's nerves on edge. Fortunately, we're not sane. Right?

The longer you listen to this concert length assault of wildly improvisational progressive rock/electronica the deeper it burrows itself into your head. For the first minute or so I kept thinking that you really needed to be in an altered state to get this stuff...but after a few minutes I started to wander into that state just on the strength of the sounds.

The first track "Rain Falls In Grey" is a jarringly psychedelic exploration of reverb and soaring guitar…with an overtone of Duane Eddy rock and roll thrown in. It's discordant as hell, and I'm not sure they should have led off the CD with it, since the next track "Bettr's Day-S" is much more rhythmic and cohesive with a strong guitar backbeat and a reasonably mellow overall sound. Not sleepy mellow by any stretch of the imagination, but high alpha brain wave mellow. Okay, maybe it's not so mellow. Which leads us into the next rack, "Shut Up", which starts off as a weird cross between a train wreck and a some strangely liquid sounds, and goes on to ghostly vibrations in the ether. This one is perfect for playing while serving treats to Halloweeners. Unsurprisingly, the track named "Syd" does indeed sound like Pink Floyd, including some guitar riffs and tonal signatures. Heavily weirded out Pink Floyd though, with a lot of overlay and dissonance that the original never incorporated. It fades out on a very Twilight Zone sort of ending to enter the ethereal zone found in "Emissary" which has a very take me to your leader sort of vibe. Again with some Duane Eddie overtones. Or maybe I'm confusing that with the "Art of Noise" the early 80s synthpop group started by Trevor Horn. "Legacy" slows things down with "sustained deep booming sounds" and a very pleasantly bluesy vibe. The very last track, "…Far Away" has the haunting echoes of avant guard surf rock and the sound tracks from spaghetti westerns, mixed in with lots of atmospheric silence and some Hendrix-like solo work.

Yes, describing this album is a lot like the blind men examining the elephant. If rock and roll isn't a post modern form of music to begin with, then Radio Massacre International certainly takes it there.

All that being said, do I like it? Yes. Not without reservations, but yes. Do I understand it? Not really. But I'm pretty sure it's doing things that deep brain structures are turned on by, and it's interesting to watch all that happening.

Recently I reviewed Radio Freefall by Matthew Jarpe, which blends SF with Rock and Roll. Listening to Rain Falls in Grey, I couldn't help but think this would have been a great soundtrack for the novel. It's rock, Jim...but not as you know it.

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