The Raynes - Silver Baby Golden Dream
Remember the big acoustic pop-rock surge during the 90's? Certainly you can recall how the Goo Goo Dolls, Counting Crows, Live and others laid claim to major air-wave time with their balladeering and love-swept lyrics. The Raynes are a couple of Canadians who remember that time well, and do their best impressions of those aforementioned acts on their first collection of material, Silver Baby...Golden Dream.
Wearing their influences proudly on their sleeves, The Raynes play it safe through familiarity and never really let you forget where they're coming from. Indeed, if you're well-versed in the old mannerisms of the Goo Goo Dolls, Train, Live and 3 Doors Down, you'll find a feeling like coming home all over this album. While I was personally not too affected by this sound when it was all the rage, some of these songs are beautifully written and tear-jerking renditions of pop-rock the way many prefer it. Multi-instrumentalist Shade Stone does the majority of the work, taking on main vocal duties (and coming off like a poor man's Ed Kowalcyk), lyric-writing (simplistic, sappy, sentimental; fitting), guitar (mostly recycled from past acts but there are a few pleasantly surprising hooks to be found ), some bass work and even keeps time (however by-the-books his performance may be behind the kit). An impressive display of talents far and wide.
Moments where The Raynes really shine are often due to the added touch of keyboardist/arranger Cliff Mcpherson's contributions. The white-bread piano melody on "The Promise" and an interesting little string section that makes "Fall Apart" stand out just a little more. Sadly, most of Silver Baby...Golden Dream is just too stuck in the past and dependant on the listener's loyalties towards the bands who've obviously had great influence here. There is little wrong with the music itself, it's very well written and performed, but you won't be able to shake the feeling of deja-vu from your head the entire time you spend with The Raynes. Whether or not that's your thing is a question only you can answer.
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