Good Old War - Come Back As Rain
Record Label: Sargent House
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Taking a different writing approach, indie-folk trio Good Old War is back with their third album, Come Back As Rain the follow up to 2010's self-titled release. For this record, the trio, consisting of lead vocalist/keyboardist Keith Goodwin, drummer/vocalist Tim Arnold, and guitarist/vocalist Dan Schwartz, collaborated on the writing of each track. The slight change is somewhat noticeable if you are familiar with the band's first two releases. Come Back As Rain offers a fresh variety of tunes, unlike anything the band has released before.
The album kicks in with "Over and Over," reminding fans why they loved this band in the first place, with their catchy hooks and flawless harmonies, the record opens with a bang. Track two, "Calling Me Names," might throw a fan of the group's older material a curveball. They ditched their classic folk sound and went for a more poppy approach, which turns out to set the mood for the majority of the album. The simple chorus hook and catchy beat will be stuck in your head for days. I find it impossible to listen to that song without creepily grinning at least a couple times. It's a no brainer that this infectious song was the album's lead single, and with the right promotion, it could have been an instant hit. The next track, "Amazing Eyes" is the current single. I can't yet figure out why, but I'm getting a "Hotel California" vibe on this track, which could possibly be in the intro. The only downside is that there are two main parts in the song, which after a few listens you'll realize get a little too repetitive. At the end of the day, it's still a solid track and definitely not a skipper.
The album rolls on with "Better Weather," which has a feel reminiscent of a track featured earlier on the record, "Calling Me Names." The poppy folk sound works well for Good Old War, and the song still highlights their glorious harmonies and Schwartz's wonderful ability to rip a solid guitar solo while still allowing the song to sound full. It's an upbeat, fun little number about, well.. praying for better weather! Later in the record, the powerful ballad "Not Quite Happiness" proves to be a standout track on the album, with it's flawless vocal harmonies and meaningful lyrics. Goodwin has stated that he got choked up while recording the song, which is understandable considering it isn't very hard to feel the emotion while even only listening. The first time I heard it, I got goosebumps just hearing the high harmony on the chorus, sung by drummer Tim Arnold. It could be considered one of the best songs in their entire discography. "It Hurts Every Time" is another standout on the record. With almost a country feel, Good Old War does on this track what they do best, once again, a perfect blend of vocal harmony and catchy hooks. The bridge section also features a fantastic groove, featuring the use of a cowbell, which is always a nice addition right?
"After The Party" is the album's most upbeat song, and is placed in a perfect spot as the album winds down. The lead accordion riff adds a perfect touch, and offers some contrast to the rest of the album, which features primarily acoustic guitars up front. This song was a grower, but now it is one of my favorite songs on the record. This is one of those songs where I had to ask myself, "how many great hooks can Good Old War put in one song?" I feel like I should be square dancing or something during this song, and I love it. The album comes to a close with "Loud Love," followed by "Present for the End of the World." The first of the two is a song that you will not be able to stop singing. In fact, it is a giant sing-a-long in their live performances. This song stands out to me because every member is in the spotlight. Each has their own verse, that they composed. We knew all of them could sing, but who knew that both Arnold and Schwartz had the capability to pull off solo vocals? Arnold's verse is a particular favorite of mine, where they got the title of the song from: "...High up in the trees, you made a nest for me, we made loud love above the canopy.." The album closes up with "Present for the End of the World," an uplifting song that is perfect to close out this album with. Goodwin's vocals in the first verse sound dangerously close to-- dare I say, Adam Levine's, but that is not an issue at all. The track leaves you wanting more, and my first instinct was to reply the entire album. Again, and again, and again....
Overall, it is the most solid Good Old War album from front to back. A fantastic and reassuring return from perhaps what was a sophomore slump with their self-titled record. Definitely a must buy.
I hear most people say their Self-Titled was a weak album and I fully disagree, I listen to it more often than this or Only Way. But this album is also fantastic!
Good review, it dragged on a little bit at certain parts but that may be just for me because I don't read a lot of track-by-track reviews or write them. As for the ratings I think most of it is on point except creativity shouldn't be that high.
I love Keith though, mans a genius.
The one thing that really sets Good Old War apart is their harmonies. The fact they produce them exactly (if not better) in the live setting is just mind-blowing. Great album. 95%? A bit hefty. But it definitely deserves a solid 80-85%.