The Living End
By Jay Oakley
Rayburn has a very classic 70s sound. A classic mix of guitars, keyboards and soulful singing. Fans who deeply miss the sounds of Styx and Yes will kill for this record.
The record opens with "At The Gate" which has a nice guitar and keys intro that's then cut into but a heavy bass riff. Smooth lead singing by Danny Archer is very apparent on this track but highlights the entire record. "Morning Train" is a lower and deeper track that comes across very relaxing with an emphasis on keyboards. My favorite part of the song is towards the end when the track appears to end but comes back with what almost sounds like a ballad but then builds back to the aggressive, deep, key-heavy playing. "Malachi" is my kind of song! A heavier, guitar riff tune with the same kind of strong lyrics that the other songs have. More of a traditional rock song where the guitars are forward and you can hear the drums crashing down with properly placed keys in sync with the vocals. "Jealous Mistress" puts the rhythm section in the foreground with the bass opening up the song with the drums solidly in the background. A slower tune that solidly fits that psychedelic feel with some outer space-style sound effects highlighting the song. "Deep In Blue" has a much more Jazzier feel to it. The guitar has a blues and string plucking style and the bass is played on a lower end so the song is based more around the guitar, drums and piano. What I like a lot about this song is it puts Danny's vocals much more in the foreground since the bands is not playing as aggressively for this one. It's a very well designed track. "Madness" opens with a piano intro leading into the vocals. The drums and guitars slowly build into filling the song. The second half of the song is more of an instrumental. After a short gap in the song the playing comes back strong, leading to a return of the vocals to finish it up. "Almost Home" is a poppy-er song. Uplifting lyrics with a faster sound make this another one of my favorite songs on the record with a cool and short guitar solo to end the tune. "Remember" is a song that any true singer will be proud of. Opening with vocals and the piano it sets the tone for the rest of the band to join in when the time is write. Going from just piano to vocals to a full band can be tricky and this songs pulls it off nicely. It closes out just like it opened, with just vocals and piano, to give the song a very polished feeling of coming full circle. "I Still Believe" is the distance track of the record. Almost six minutes in length but it really shows off the musicianship of the band. Every part of the band is featured in this song. "Fat Tuesday" has that vocal feeling of Styx and Queen because has that big, multi-vocals feel just like those songs when all members are singing in harmony. Very strong. "Journey" is a return to that stripped down feel with Danny singing with limited instrumental background until the time calls for it. His range is shown and there is even a breakdown in the song where he shows a little grit to his singing. "Not Going Back" brings it all home with an acoustic feel. Beautiful lyrics mixed with just an acoustic guitar and a feel background effects. It's so peaceful. I'm always going to be drawn to more aggressive songs but I love this track and I wasn't expecting it.
All-in-all, this is a very quality album. Thoughtful lyrics, stellar playing and excellent mixing and mastering. Very much worth a listen and worth seeing live if the opportunity presents itself.