Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Release: Reading Rainbow

One of the more striking performances I've seen in the past year was from Philadelphia duo Reading Rainbow when they opened for HoZac labelmates Super Wild Horses. Their stage setup was noteworthy because Robbie Garcia (guitar, vocals) and Sarah Everton (drums, vocals) faced each other instead of the crowd. I know nothing (nor do I care to speculate) about Mr. Garcia and Ms. Everton's relationship offstage, but this simple act radiated a subtle but undeniable joy and intimacy. Informed by the K/C-86 vibe that's become fashionable of late, their sound was remarkably full given the minimal instrumentation. The two person harmonies felt absolutely lush. I stuck around for Super Wild Horses. They were fine but couldn't help but pale in comparison to their openers.

Today sees the release of Reading Rainbow's second album and HoZac debut, Prism Eyes. Does it capture the uncommon buzz of the band's performance? Well, perhaps only partially. What played as a bold declaration of identity in a live setting comes of as just a bit samey-sounding on record. However, it's an inviting sound in which listeners can easily luxuriate and there's enough variety here to prevent Prism Eyes from becoming monolithic. Plus, Reading Rainbow's stronger melodies easily distinguish themselves. Songs like "Wasting Time," "Always On My Mind" and the title track are some of the most infectious of the year, outclassing most of band's peers among the new naive.

Prism Eyes may not quite replicate seeing Reading Rainbow live, but a fraction of a transcendent experience is a lot more than most bands offer. You should probably check this one out.

No comments: