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ALBUM REVIEW

RAINA ROSE
End of Endless False Starts

To those who heard the comparisons of Raina Rose to Paul Simon: disregard. She's taller and has a lot more hair. I'm kidding, of course, but she does have more hair.

Seriously, though, if you want to know about Raina Rose, let me tell you how I operate. I seldom accept review copies unsolicited. I search. So when Raina approached me, I was reluctant. Had it not been for seeing her picture on Danny Schmidt's website, I might well have passed, but her mere appearance on his site made me cave. Schmidt is one of the nicest guys in music. If he okayed her, which he implicitly did by posting the pictures, that was enough.

One time through and I knew it was not a mistake. The first six tracks are solid singer/songwriter fare, good songs all and well presented, but when I hit Misaligned Tires, her musical worth jumped exponentially. Dark and a bit disturbing, Raina passes through intense psychedelic folk territory seldom touched upon, the bedrock of slightly jazzy folk guitar and just-short-of-demented vocals giving way to electronic-chambered electric guitar and effects of a manic nature before folding in upon itself. I wanted to go on but listened to that one song a number of times, amazed that the six minutes compacted itself down to two in my head. It just isn't long enough.

An anomaly? Not at all. A little more melodic and a little less manic, This Ain't My House continues, electronic loops and guitar licks worthy of Illinois Speed Press push it over the top. Way over. And the stage is set. Even the lighter and floating Not Not Love, while not psychedelic, carries an ethereal quality which gives a needed break before Starts With a Low Hum, a piece of folk/Americana with slight Celtic influence and a track 1:46 in length and chews up 1:25 of it in silence before an electronically altered voice knocks around before announcing “false start.” One last song, not listed but maybe I Would Like to Kiss Everyone, ends the album, cello and programming adding that now familiar psych/folk edge on which Raina likes to balance herself. This is good stuff.

Those first six tracks? The solid singer/songwriter fare? I am glad for those. The intensity of the tracks from Misaligned Tires on could have been a bit much--- more than my tired old ears could absorb comfortably, anyway. A return to the beginning allows me to breathe a little easier before diving right back in. Yeah, I've been listening to End of Endless False Starts back to back a lot lately. She deserves it.

Check her out on her MySpace page and then buy the CD. More than that, catch her live. She is touring constantly and will more than likely be in your area soon.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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