Album Review: The Family Rain – Under the Volcano

The amount of bands with truly remarkable music is astounding, which makes it an ever scarier thought to know that so many of these bands don’t make it into the mainstream eye. That makes it all the more special for a band to make it big in the present day, especially with the dominance of the music industry and the world of manufactured pop. For a band like The Family Rain, success had always been on the cards from the moment their song Trust Me…I’m a Genius gave them the well-deserved break they’d worked so hard for. The three brothers from Bath (William, Ollie and Timothy Walter) manage to blend so many different styles into their catchy blues rock that it’d be almost impossible to spot a Family Rain song if it weren’t for Ollie Walter’s instantly recognizable vocal. Earlier this week, the trio released their hotly anticipated debut album, Under the Volcano, building on the success of their previous singles and releasing an album full of classics.

Opening the record is Carnival, with its Mardi-Gras drum beats and swaying guitar riffs. The instantly catchy call-and-response chorus kicks off the record with a thud of happiness, giving the listener something to dance and sing along to. Breakthrough hit Trust Me…I’m a Genius follows, demonstrating everything that this band does well in just over two minutes. It’s filled with rawness, plonky pianos, emotive vocals and a signature guitar riff which is reminiscent of Dr Dre’s Still Dre. The upbeat Feel Better (FRANK) is next, preceding the Beatles-esque vocals of Don’t Waste Your Time. This is one of the big highlights on the record, showing us the band at their rawest and most emotive. It’s a slow burner, with a festival main stage awaiting its emphatic chorus and goosebump-inducing climax and gritty blues guitars. Reason To Die takes the band on a slightly different route, with its grungy riff and catchy chorus making way for a brilliant solo and Kasabian-esque outro. It’s followed up by the low-key Binocular, which once again demonstrates this bands ability to build up a song to a massive climax, by way of clean guitars and simple percussion.

On My Back is by no means a bad song, but it could be considered as one of the “weaker” tracks on the album. It’s The Family Rain by-numbers, not really demonstrating anything new or exciting, instead sticking to the same formula which other songs managed to build on impressively. It gets exciting towards the end, but it’s is pretty much forgotten once Pushing It kicks in. A demure blues riff keeps the song travelling at a steady pace, making way for an epic solo and sweet climax. Together does the opposite, starting off as a slow-burning anthem before building up into a mix of euphoria, raw emotion and pure musical brilliance. It’s one of the best songs on the record simply due to the aforementioned reasons, and there’s honestly no faulting it. It’s at this point that the record comes to a close in the form of another slow-burning anthem, All The Best. Keeping at a steady pace throughout the song, it climaxes with a massive call-and-response section which brings the album to the euphoric end it so badly deserves.

Despite there still being work to be done and styles to be explored, Under The Volcano is a successful step in the right direction for The Family Rain. Yes, quite a few songs follow a very similar formula, but bar On My Back (which could easily have been replaced by the massive bonus track Vulpicide) this record is flawless and should definitely do Ollie, Timothy and William’s 3 years of hard work justice. If this is just the beginning, then there’s plenty of reason to be excited for what this band has to offer!