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From The Vault: The Rain Parade - “Emergency Third Rail Power Trip” (1983)


When the psychedelic 60’s faded into the sunset during the early 70’s, there were many who still clung to those beautiful bits of naive ideals and nostalgia for the enchanting swirling colours, the beautiful clothes, the gentleness and the magic of the recently outlawed lysergic and MDA, yet without the sense that doors were in the process of opening.

By the 80’s, those who weren’t old enough to have been part of the movement, and spurred on by those who refused to give up the dream, made a sincere attempt to resurrect those visions, many as part of what’s come to be know as the ‘Paisley Underground.’ Yet all and all, this new sound was a vision drawn from grainy Polaroid snapshots and clothing that had been cast aside, picked up and put on by those who were attempting to carry a banner for a movement that no longer existed, meaning that all they had to show for themselves was the resurrection of an imagined musical statement that had nothing to support it. 

Far to many fail to understand that the psychedelic 60’s came about for a reason, with complexities as rich as varied as each individual wanted them to be, with this new generation now attempting to mature the music, and doing a fine job at it, though as I said, without the essence and support of the causes that brought it into existence in the first place. That being said, nearly all of these bands falter in that they invent nothing, nor do they find a manner in which to re-invent, content merely to recycle aspects that delighted a generation before them. Rain Parade are like meeting old friends with their Doors’ organ riffs, or Neil Young’s quivering guitar laid up against compelling lyrics. It would be wrong to call this band, or any others rip-offs, or say that they connect the dots for a series of stolen moments, because there is a sincerity to be found there, a concerted attempt at a deeper understanding and revitalization for the soundtrack that made the 60’s so lushful and intoxicating, yet again, the music floats without the underlying essence to support it, though with that in mind, this album in particular is essentially strong and far ahead of its time, foreshadowing what a band such as Asteroid #4 would become famous for.

Rain Parade, like Spacemen 3, or even Dream Syndicate do nothing stunning with their instruments, though they do create a delightful intoxicating atmosphere with their instrumentation, one laced with jangling fuzzed guitars, sitars, violins, and pianos, though again, it all sounds like some hazy memory being swept back on a breeze though an open window sparking the taste of something that was lost so long ago. With that in mind, I do wish that I could put myself into the heads of these folks and attempt to feel their passion, their sense of urgency and calling, because Rain Parade, unlike so many others of this genre and time have managed to avoid the pitfalls that have trapped so many others who’ve attempted to make this trip, only to create songs that are effectively redundant. Rain Parade deliver a body of work that’s pop-like in its fashion, easy to listen to, and filled with unique characteristics and ideas that create a melodic, yet not moody atmosphere ... in short, an album that for me would have been a masterpiece during the 60’s. 

Rain Parade are consistent, with gentle trippy-ish crafted songs woven together with hypnotic visual lyrics, and I’d recommend this album to anyone of like mind, as they’re a band that sincerely causes me to smile, as in hindsight, I now realize that we [those who were there then] were not out there driving through the galaxy alone, that there were those in the backseat watching wide-eyed, making me wish that I’d taken the time to turn around in my head long adventure to see who was picking up on what we were laying down.

- Jenell Kesler
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