Baby, A Little Rain Must Fall
The Rock*A*Teens return, this time on Merge and a couple people lighter. Kelly Hogan’s absence in this band is not as apparent as it would be in other projects she’s involved in, but without Chris Verene’s exacting (and exerted) drumwork, the band’s sound is focused on one thing: reverb. The R*A*T are all about reverb, great big springy gobs of it. They wallow in reverb like you or I would soak in a hot tub after a day spent on the ski slopes. Listening to this record makes me feel like I’m the only person who showed up to their gig at the high school gym, and I captured it all on my trusty Radio Shack boombox.
Beyond the clobbering and obvious echo, there’s also a plaintive loneliness to the band’s music, undiminished here. A song like “NY by Helicopter” makes me feel like this is the end folks, and it ain’t a Hollywood ending. “Bloodhound” sways and struts through an unhealthy obsession. “Ether Sunday” is as close to upbeat as the band gets. If you get high on treble, get ready to pass out. Merge Records, Box 1235, Chapel Hill, NC 27514; http://www.mrg2000.com