Good Old War – Come Back As Rain
The trio of Good Old War expanded their repertoire of harmony-driven folk tunes in 2010 with their Self-Titled album using their debut Only Way to Be Alone as a reference point. As a fan, I gladly embraced the change with no if, ands, buts or laments. After all, it wasn’t so much a departure as it was an addendum. It reflected the more rugged environment (a cabin in the Pocono Mountains) the songs were written in much the way their debut was a mixture of collaborations and scraps from past musical endeavors.
In that way, the band follows suit for their latest album Come Back as Rain. Musically, the core sound hasn’t changed but rather the big delineation from previous recordings comes in the form of time. The band spent a few weeks in pre-production, something they hadn’t had the luxury of in the past smoothing out the edges and polishing this batch of songs. If expansion was the underlying theme of the Self-Titled, refining would be this album’s theme.
The additional percussions on album opener ‘Over and Over,’ guitar work on the single ‘Calling Me Names’ or vocals on stand-out ballad ‘Amazing Eyes’ have an extra crispness that displays the band further honing their craft. The band showcases its famous 3-part harmonies on the upbeat ‘Better Weather’ and crooner ‘Not Quite Happiness’ which continue to be their bread-and-butter.
Like most things in life, Good Old War’s music was served best with a little extra care. Fans disappointed with the more ragged leanings of their Self-Titled will be more than won back with these 11 new tunes. The band is in a difficult position with their sound in that whether it’s the rollicking ‘After the Party’ or the stripped-back ‘Loud Love,’ their folk-rock confines only stretch so far. Music fans merely looking for scorching solos or math rock noodlings won’t be won over with Come Back as Rain. More open minded enthusiasts however won’t be able to find anyone better in the genre than these three chaps form Philadelphia.— Matt Zimmerman, 03/14/2012