Wednesday, 24 April 2019

'Last Word' by: RAYLEIGH

Year: 2019
For fans of: AmpereMahria, Frail HandsItto, Crowning, Nuvolascura, Blind Girls, Obroa-skaiУлыбайся Ветру, Loma Prieta and Capsule.

Review by Dave Cullen:

So pretend it's the summer of 2017, and pretend you're in Crowning and you're playing the midnight slot at a festival in Vancouver. Senza is there, Rayleigh is there, Dad Thighs, lots of cool people. Crowning isn't so much on tour, but rather on vacation with guitars, so we're looking around trying to figure out who we can borrow a full band worth of gear from. Rayleigh comes through and lets a bunch of strangers  borrow just about everything in their van. I might have even borrowed Cory's pants, i don't remember. Either way, Crowning plays a C+ set and we get the hell off the stage because somehow 3 more bands have to go on still. This anecdote doesn't really serve a purpose past revealing how biased I am.

So here we are at the final, posthumous release from Edmonton's own Rayleigh, harboring members of Mahria and Obroa-Skai. If you're familiar with Rayleigh then you know what you're in for; an onslaught of technical guitars, throaty screams, and a very structured lack of structure. And right here at the end, Rayleigh wears these 4 tracks better than any of their older material.

The first track, "Blood Letter", begins with a red herring as the ambience of an orchestra tuning is soon obliterated by the expected chaos that has come to define the Rayleigh experience. It always sounds as though the band writes songs 6 seconds at a time, in an almost Exquisite Corpse style, while their embrace of melody keeps them ever sounding all that mathy or disjointed. They seem to have found that elusive middle between straight forward and excessive. Sure there's some flexing in there, but it's never off-brand.

The fourth track, "Diamondback", is my clear favorite. I'm a real sucker for those opening guitar noodles and the constant rearranging of tempos. The lyrics paint a picture of a person intentionally cramming their mind with obligations and responsibilities in order to not spiral into worse thoughts. The line "Thoughts racing, body immobile. Will we wake from this Faustian nightmare?" is incredibly relatable. Who among us hasn't felt like Faust, transitioning helplessly from moment to moment, emotion to emotion, all the while being expected to participate and react accordingly.

And then it's over. The final chugs chug out for infinity and we're left with nothing but the aftertaste (and the other EP, and LP, and their old and new bands, and you can have whatever is in my pockets).  Definitely give this a listen. Definitely give their other stuff a listen. And definitely check out Mahria and Obroa-Skai when you get the chance.

Goodnight Rayleigh, thanks for the tunes.

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(2018) RAYLEIGH - "Blood Letter" (from 'Last Word')

(2018) RAYLEIGH - "Last Mechanical Art" (from 'Last Word')

(2018) RAYLEIGH - "Sun Stealer" (from 'Last Word')

(2018) RAYLEIGH - "Diamondback" (from 'Last Word')

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