If you haven’t heard Good Old War, then you should. Soon. This Philadelphia-based acoustic indie folk/pop act has been gaining momentum since they started out about three years ago, recently touring with acts like Heartless Bastards, The Gaslight Anthem and Alison Krauss. Their new record Come Back As Rain should spread their growing fame even farther.
The first two things that will grab you about this band are their contagious rhythms and their smooth gorgeous harmonies. This music is filled with movement, driven by foot-tapping drums and percussion, and some amazing guitar picking. But the vocals? Seriously, these guys could sing me to sleep every night. Seriously.
As I listened to Come Back As Rain, I literally found myself looking for a song that I didn’t enjoy. I couldn’t find any. While there’s certainly a foundation of country/folk here (with just a touch of bluegrass), it’s infused with enough pop to make it palatable to a wide audience—along with a bit of rock, and…is that a samba rhythm in the opening track?
So the record is really good, but it’s not perfect. I do have a couple of teensy complaints, from a singer/songwriter point of view. First of all, the lyrics are just a bit weak, with some overly predictable rhymes and some awkwardness in the flow. Second—and maybe this is a little picky on my part—the music is maybe just a bit too “happy” at times for the lyrical content. I mean, a lot of these songs are talking about breakups and stuff; should we really be smiling all the time? And considering that this IS 2012 and all, the last song, “Present for the End of the World,” is so musically pleasant that almost feels inappropriate. Maybe they meant it to have a parody feel, I don’t know.
That being said…with those voices and harmonies, I’d forgive them just about anything. Come Back As Rain could be the phone book set to music, and I’d probably still buy the record. The lyrics might be weak, but the music is definitely strong.
ALBUM RATING: 3.5 stars (out of 5)