Looking to go somewhere but can't afford a trip at the moment? Chicago's Soft Rain Airplane has you covered with their fantastical album called Feast of Frenzy and can transport you from even the most mundane of circumstances. It is indeed a feast of groovy, dreamy, folky, indie rocky gems that are so far from anything I have heard recently. I am unabashedly smitten with this album which is a well-rounded experience for any kind of listener. It's not an in your face, commercial kind of thing. It's more ambient and iridescent. The band has only been together since 2016 but in this album alone they will shape shift into what feels like three different bands that have been playing together for ages.
The first track "Amber" is interesting. Somehow I had a feeling I was going to be lead in with ambient nature noises, and sure enough they appeared, but it worked. It was appropriate. The song opens up into a long, mostly instrumental overture that goes on for six minutes. It's very funky and unexpected and then there's this cool spoken word bit towards the end that is a bit unsettling, but in a good way. The songs that come after are light, airy pop like pieces with breezy vocals and airy lyrics. Songs like "Carbon Copy," "Vanilla" and "Light Roast" are infused with sunlight and guilt free malaise. They are light in calories but packed with nutrient rich substance. The riffs on these are just incredible, so jazzy, funky and self indulgent.
Musically everything is built around these incredible cool guitar riffs. When the bass feels like it, it creates a one-two punch that compels one's head to at a bare minimum nod along. Keeping everything on a more low key tempo level is the percussion. They also make good use of peculiar samples that keep things sounding very lush and organic. However they use those sort of tricks sparingly and rely heavily on the organic sounds. Vocally, this album is a literal feast of talent. Holy smokes, I loved EVERY voice I heard on here. There were some lovely duet performances alongside the solo ones. All of them were noteworthy and ALL of these performances were complemented with endearing lyrics.
This album being a DIY basement recording project only further proves to me that the future for music creation is looking so bright. The engineering on this album is spot on. The spotlight always shines where it's needed, whether it be a wicked awesome jazzy riff or putting forward the vocals to get those incredible words across. While anything is possible, after my first listen, I did NOT have my money on DIY, and this is one of those areas where I LOVE being proven wrong.
I can see Soft Rain Airplane finding a very diverse audience. They have the ability to satisfy the tastes of so many, from classic rock, to jazz, to funk and indie rock fans. Their sound is so fluid and uncompromising in its originality. It's got some very sturdy legs that I feel can go the distance.
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