Pray for Rain

Just Listening to…Jim Dead & the Doubters – Pray For Rain (2015)

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.

 

REVIEW: Jim Dead & the Doubters – Pray for Rain (2015)

Multi-site review! For the other Jim Dead & the Doubters reviews, click below:

Scan_20160125JIM DEAD & THE DOUBTERS – Pray for Rain (2015 Jim Dead)

I like Jim Dead’s authentic dark slant on country and blues.  I don’t know how you get such a true slab of blues out of Scotland, but there is no lack of truth in Dead’s music.  With the Doubters he gives a full-on band experience, blues-rock with drums and electric twang, but nothing has changed.  Jim Dead still sounds wracked with all the pain and agony from past records, perhaps even more so.

A “Wooden Kimono” doesn’t sound like comfortable garb, but this song is anything but wooden.  It’s played on wooden instruments plugged in with electricity, and accompanied by Dead, telling it like it is.  “Wooden Kimono” is a swampy stomp; this gives way to “May the Road Rise”, a powerful moaner of riffs and wounds.  Jim Dead has never sounded better, truthfully, than he does baring his soul on “May the Road Rise”.  “Pray for Rain”, the title track, is a storm of rock power so just get swept up with it.


This is a rough mix — the album version sounds better.

The blues vibe comes across on “Holding the Line”, with some very nice guitar work up front.  A soaring chorus and some bluesy guitars are just what the doctor prescribed.  “Lovesick Blues” is heavy shit, grunged up and ready to take it to the next level.  “I’m sick of TV, I’m sick of me,” sings Dead with the anguish you expect, but with a Glenn Danzig howl.

As if to emphasize an LP side change, “Trains” fades in slowly and feels like a new start.  Jim Dead likes writing about trains.  I like that.  “Trains” is the opposite of “Lovesick Blues”; it’s a brief percussive tune that introduces the country twang of “Crows on the Wire”.  Sounding like an upbeat road tune, “Crows” reminds me of Blue Rodeo.  It defies you to stand still.  “Let it rain, let it snow,” sings Jim and this time we’ll agree to disagree.  “Home” then is ominous, with those big fat guitar tones you love, again sounding a bit like Greg Keelor’s work in Blue Rodeo.  “You Coulda Said” has one of the sweetest sounds in the whole wide world, that being a dirty slide guitar.  The final track is the quieter “I’m Not Lost”, also the name of a prior Jim Dead EP.  Call it the album epic, but at almost seven minutes it really does feel like a journey.  It starts somewhere and goes somewhere else.  That’s the key.

If you want something authentic and real to listen to, with the darkness and brightness of the real world, than look no further.  You must simply Pray for Rain, and get this CD.  This is the real thing; the genuine article.  You can buy Pray for Rain by clicking here.

4.5/5 stars