Following a 2013 which saw them play Reading festival, open for Biffy Clyro at Ibiza Rocks, and embark on their first UK headline tour, it’s fair to say that The Family Rain had started to create some anticipation ahead of their debut album, Under the Volcano.
The three brothers from Bath, aka William, Ollie and Timothy Walter, released Under the Volcano in early February this year, and it has not disappointed. Over the past year, numerous singles have been released, each one as upbeat and high octane as the last. This has made the band great to see live but has arguably raised questions about the range of songs on the album. Those questions are answered and then some throughout Under the Volcano.
Songs such as ‘Trust Me…I’m A Genius’ and ‘Carnival’ set the bar for the brothers in early 2013, at a time when fans and critics alike were eagerly awaiting their debut. However, if anything were to be singled out as a weakness in this album, it is could perhaps be these previously released tracks. Whilst the album was in the process of being made in Berlin (where David Bowie and Iggy Pop both recorded in the 70s), they were arguably overplayed. Instead, new, previously unheard songs such as ‘Binocular’ and ‘On My Back’ stick to the band’s philosophy of making catchy rock songs that put the band in their element when played live. ‘Binocular’, in particular, is already a fans’ favourite; the tempo builds throughout, eventually producing on of the most catchy and enjoyable songs on the album.
What I found most refreshing about the record is the change in tempo in the likes of ‘All The Best’ and partly in ‘Together’. These songs show the talent The Family Rain possess and opens the door for a whole variety of potential songs on future singles and albums, which will please fans whilst maintaining the bands’ objective of attempting to revive old-fashioned rock and roll in the UK.
The Family Rain may not be a band everyone is aware of and by no means does Under the Volcano mean that they will become mainstream and take the charts by storm. Nevertheless, these three brothers from Bath have shown the UK and all similar upcoming bands how to make one of the best debut albums you’re likely to hear in 2014.
By Aaron Brudney