Jim himself will be our guest tomorrow on the LeBrain Train.
You never know what to expect from Jim Dead. Sometimes he’s mournfully acoustic, sometimes he’s raging electric with a full band. The Doubters are the latter and Pray For Rain is a powerful listening experience traversing blues, rock and country.
Opener “Wooden Kimono” is a relentless electric blues. Jim sounds tormented, as any good blues singer should. Sabbathy guitar bends on “May the Road Rise” show that this band is not afraid to mix influences. This is rock — like the better parts of Pearl Jam distilled. Blues and granite mingle gladly on the title track. It must be stated that the drums on this album are most excellently powerful.
On down the line, the album straddles the blues/rock lines, travelling all the way to the Stone Temple of grunge on “Lovesick Blues”. The brief “Trains” goes somewhere else completely different, something from the old west but in the 2000s. The leads into “Crows on the Wire”, the only overtly country song. A welcome reprise from the rising tides of heaviness.
The greatest track on the album could be “Home”, a quiet dusky number which erupts with heartfelt lead vocals that rends the soul to slivers. Echoes of Tom Waits, but not Tom Waits. This is chased by some wicked slide on “You Coulda Said” and finally, acoustic melancholy on the closer “I’m Not Lost”. A magnificent end.
Pray For Rain is an intense album. It’s heavy with feeling, and guitars. Some of the lead work is outstanding and the vocals are always fierce…yet tender. It’s focused and raw. Pray For Rain was recorded in a couple of days but the payoff is that you’ll want to listen to it for years.