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Lainie & The Crows

Chemical Rest (self-released)

By • Mar 6th, 2015 • Category: Single review

An adjective that gets banded around all too often by music critics and fans alike is atmosphere.

Yes, it has lots of atmosphere; oh doesn’t its atmosphere linger long after the song’s finished. Keith Richards’ atmosphere is stripping the paint off the walls.
Taking the literal meaning of the word and translating that into music is a difficult, nigh-on impossible task. That said, Lainie & The Crows’ new release Chemical Rest comes pretty darn close to generating that same sort of ambiance.
This Edinburgh based five-piece have a penchant for indie and folk. Fusing the two styles together to create a contemporary, distinctive sound, this new EP is a great testimony to the group’s dedication and hard work.
From the off, there’s a wonderful richness and texture to the songs. Warm, homely and oozing an almost southern charm, there isn’t long before the toes start tapping and fingers get snapping. A glossy production that perfectly draws out the best from all aspects of the group’s obvious talents, even from the opening chords, listeners are engulfed and captured by their imagination.
But it’s not all knee slapping, happy clappy that’s plagued the mainstream markets recently. As “Mr Right Now,” proves, there’s malice and an edgy darkness to this music too. With a beautiful mastery of lyricism expertly delivered, every part of the band’s musicianship is laid down for all to listen to, warts and all. Except, there are no warts here as this is genuinely good music.
‘Biding My Time’ moves things in a much more palpable, positive direction. Again, the togetherness of the group and the confidence these musicians have playing with each other is the ultimate winner of the track. Much to the benefit of the listeners of course, this song’s permanent bassline feels like the hand that guides you through the misadventures of the lyrics heroes and villains. It’s master storytelling at its best.
While a retro-cool style and Appalachian blues tribute is all well and good, it’s not to everybody’s taste. With the likes of Mumford & Sons breathing new life into the well trodden folk scene, Lainie & The Crows are an altogether more grown up, mature sound. The kids can have their Mumfords, slam tents and beer in plastic cups.
The parents can kick back to the sounds of Chemical Rest and, as the title suggests, take a load off in style.

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