Rainy Boy Sleep doesn’t exactly live up to his name as far as his latest release is concerned: The Shopping Centre EP is far from coma inducing. It boasts four saccharine soaked, perfectly executed and wonderfully written tracks. This collection of songs released by Rainy Boy displays his diverse yet distinct style in each and every one.
The EP opens with the sharp and cutesy ‘Shopping Centre Song’. A pop-like riff and beat box percussion take the lead and run throughout, underpinning Rainy Boy’s characteristically raw voice. A simple melody from the piano for the chorus really gives interest here – it imitates the vocals without detracting from them. This song is made from layers, clearly born on the loop station, which are built upon and taken away from start to finish. I get the impression that it wouldn’t sound much different in a live setting, which is reassuring because its beauty lies in its simplicity.
‘Your Face’ is the next track on offer and it couldn’t be more different to Shopping Centre Song. Where the former was bright and lively, here it is ambient and reflective. Vast distorted chords sustained on guitar reach right across the music, only to be pulled back into focus by strong bursts from the piano. Lazily plucked broken chords prevail, transporting the listener to somewhere likely to be a whole lot warmer and sunnier than anywhere in Northern Ireland right now. Listen to this song and you’ll want it to be summer already (and a hot one at that!).
Yet another contrasting mood dominates in ‘One After One’. Let’s be honest – this is probably the nearest to angst Rainy Boy is going to get. Perhaps he was watching The Exorcist when he penned this one, because the repeated xylophone-esque phrase does sound a bit “Tubular Bells”. But I’m sure that this was not the intention – it would sound quite pretty to someone unacquainted with Mike Oldfield! Aside from this (slightly arbitrary) aspect, this track reveals a voice with real vulnerability and a chilling edginess. Tight harmonies work to give this song an ethereal quality.
A lot of EPs lose their momentum by the time they reach the final track, but this is not the case with ‘Yours Truly’. Dripping with sarcasm (“I love that you never answer”), you can practically see the bittersweet emotion running off the tongue. This is all the concentrated pain of loss and heartache delivered in one fell swoop. And it is precisely this straightforward, no “beating around the bush”, frank delivery that makes it tug on your heart a little. Piercing vocals break through a muted mesh of guitars, with a reverb that serves to make it all the more haunting. This EP peaks with a mature and evocative closing track.
Rainy Boy Sleep’s striking voice (and its unashamedly Northern Irish inflection) along with simple yet effective song writing skills are given the finish they deserve, thanks to a clean and well thought out production. This is a succinct release from a succinct songwriter who is happy to provide you with all you would ever ask for in an EP.
◀ STANDOUT ⁞ Yours Truly ▶
◀ CONNECTION ⁞ Lightspeed Champion | Snow Patrol ▶