If I had three words to describe The Distance In Between by The Rationales, those three would be “just in time.” The power-pop quintet from Boston, MA has released their first full-length album one week after the start of summer. Their hooky and catchy brand of Americana lends itself to a sun-soaked day but is not rife with bubble-gum pop sensibilities. Guitarist/singer David Mirabella brings a level of maturity to each song with his songwriting and his vocals add soberness that plays well off of the other members of the band.
The Rationales as a whole tear through their 10 tracks, jamming out the entire time with some great 4-chord pop-rock songs. Each song has a basic structure with levels of backup vocals, keyboards, and rhythms that are well-layered and has the listener discovering something new with each listen. That is a true joy as an audiophile: to put in your headphones, listen to a song you’ve heard a hundred times before and say “Oh, I’ve never noticed that one fill the drummer does there.” Most of the tracks have giant hooks in them that get your hands or feet tapping to the beat and looking to restart the album after it is over.
The worst part is that these guys make it look easy. The jerks. They fool us into thinking we can pick up instruments and create tight and polished tracks like “Jaded” and “Try To Tell Me.” All we need is a keyboardist and some backup vocalists and we can have people dancing at the local VFW hall! The Rationales may have tricked us, but that is a testament to their playing and recording ability. I curse that ability every time I fumble over a D-chord on my acoustic guitar.
It could be that these guys have just tapped into the teenager in me that grew up in Maine on a steady diet of 90s alternative and 70s rock and seventeen year-old me would love to use Mirabella’s line “I’ll be the one you wanted” to a pretty girl. It would be foolish to think that everyone had the same experience I did, and that The Rationales’ Americana rock would reach everyone. But it would be tragic to miss what these guys from Boston are dishing out. Their music is very accessible without pandering to the lowest common denominator.
At the end of the day, that’s really what I want from a summer album. Check out The Distance In Between for yourself on their website and buy it to play for your friends. If you live in the Boston area, go see them in concert. If you don’t live near Boston, encourage them to come out. Even though they’re jerks for making rockin’ out look easy, they make it sound good, and seem like really nice guys. And if there is any sub group of musicians that needs to be supported in this country, it is the ones who temper their talent with being down to earth.