Corey Abell’s debut EP Rainwater Youth is an album that often showcases elements of quintessential indie rock from the last couple of years. While his debut is uniquely his own you hear traces of bands like Deerhunter, Broken Social Scene and The Walkmen. For example you can hear a hint of Bradford Cox's vocal delivery and other times he sounds more like Hamilton Leithauser. Anyway you cut it this album works for a number of reasons. However, the two most important are that the songwriting is good if not exceptional and second is that the production is top notch. It also has a nice flow, as there is a lot of variety throughout, not only with the melodies, but the aesthetics he brings. For instance, sometimes his voice is manipulated with a good amount of effects and other times there isn't much more than a touch of reverb. Rainwater Youth is an expression of Abell’s experiences in Vancouver. He says that “the sound, like the rich dark greens of Vancouver’s rainforests, vividly reflects the contemplative drizzle that the city is famous for.”
Abell starts things off with a great song called “Kids First.” The first couple of moments were perhaps my favorite where a subdued saxophone, a lightly played guitar and a synth mix to create a gorgeous mixture of sounds. It’s also Abell’s best vocal performance. His voice is confident and up front in the mix as he sings “Europe's got steel.” His voice is layered as the song builds to its crescendo at the end of the song. He doesn't miss a beat with “Salene,” which is an acoustic song that puts electronic drums low in the mix and instead chooses to focus on the vocals and the lush arrangement of warm textures.
The title track “Rainwater Youth” creates a tantalizing dichotomy between the intricate percussive elements and Abell’s distorted vocals. It was difficult to decipher the vocals but it also wasn't my biggest concern. “Georgie, Where Are You Georgie?” is a stripped back song that introduces some female vocal accompaniment that works quite well when they sing “come back to me.” Abell saved one of the best songs for last with “For The Lions;” the triumphant tone is only enhanced by the banjo and almost choir-like vocal harmonies.
Abell’s Rainwater Youth is an impressive accomplishment that not only embraces some of indie rock’s finer examples but builds upon them.
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