Rains – Stories
Jeff Rains is a musical artist who paints with his words. With broad brush strokes he delicately describes the tragedies inspired by life in America with a raspy, melancholy voice. Originally released in 2009, the Stories album is aptly named, as most of the songs are vocal centric and describe tales of self destruction, broken relationships, and the failure of the American dream.
The band Rains is from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and their sound is similar to contemporaries like Three Days Grace, Stone Sour, and Shinedown. They use a mix of acoustic and electric guitars, with an occasional flourish of a violin or a piano. Jeff Rains provides the vocals with band members Joe Schultz on drums, Matt Hopkins on bass, and Jason Anderson on guitar rounding out the lineup.
While “Look in My Eyes” and “Liar” were the first singles released from this album, those aren’t necessarily the best songs. Those honors go to “Five Minutes” and “American Dream (The Story of David)”. “Five Minutes” is a song about a young man who desires a better life while his circles down the drain.
In 5 minutes your life is over.
It’s your life why don’t you spend it the best you can.
You seem to think your life’s just begun, five minutes and it’s over, over.
The lyrics never reveal what is going on, but hint at illegal activities that end tragically.
“American Dream” is the most brutally honest song on the album, and discusses a topic modern rock rarely touches on, homelessness. The song begins with a simple guitar melody complemented with a violin. It describes a kid who grew up in a small town with big dreams.
I followed my American dream to a life of depression and poverty,
I went from all American kid to a bum on the street in your neighborhood.
When this album was originally released in 2009 the nation was going through the worst part of the recession and unemployment was over 10% in most places. This song captures the end result of that recession. It closes with a soft piano melody that fades into silence.
The song “Pressure” is an upbeat rocker with a tempo that builds as the volume crescendos to musically simulate rising pressure. The lyrics describe a painful breakup between the singer and his love. Filled with anger, this is one of the heaviest and darkest songs on the album.
“Liar”, the first single from the album, is one of those songs you will like after the first time you hear it. It has a catchy guitar riff and a simple melodic chorus that is easy to sing along with. This song has deservedly been in rotation on satellite radio since last summer.
“Look In My Eyes”, the second single and the band’s first music video is an excellent example of how well this band can switch between acoustic and electric in an instant. It’s a mid tempo rocker that features some of Jeff Rains’s best vocals. Like most of the songs included on Stories, it features a character who is struggling to maintain a healthy relationship. The beginning features a soft, syncopated guitar melody that sounds like rain falling. That’s the perfect way to start an album from a band called Rains.
In summary, it’s easy to find yourself drawn into the colorful and frequently sad world created by the band. Modern rock with a bit of blues thrown in, the Stories album is for people who like a good drama with their music.Rains - Stories,