Review: The Rationales – Upstream

Meghan Trainor is from Massachusetts. Per the reliable source that is Wikipedia (this being the extent of energy I would spend on anything Meghan Trainor), she has received 14 “awards” from 66 various nominations. Meghan Trainor is from Nantucket, MA. Nantucket, MA has a population of 10,172.

The Rationales are from Massachusetts. Having followed The Rationales for some time, I can say with rather firm confidence, they have never released a song that repeated they are all about any such bass. The Rationales are from Boston, MA. Boston, MA has a population of 667,137.

The point of this all is to prove in a law of large numbers, that six out of 667,137 (henceforth referred to as the 0.001%) is remarkably more talented and tolerable than one out of 10,172 (0.01%). Or in plain English, the little guys are better and Meghan Trainor sucks.

As we have it, The Rationales (our 0.001%) have burst through the summer of 2017 with their latest, and in the eyes of this music fan their best-to-date release, Upstream.

Perhaps a reflection on the uphill battle against fellow Massachusettsites (Massachusenians? Massachusettsinians?) plaguing the world with terrible music, the Mirabellas (David and Mike), Sean Black, Chad Raleigh, David Lieb, and Adam Hand deliver a sound that strikes a chord of American Rock while keeping firmly planted in the beauty of compositions we’ve come to appreciate in Dream of Fire and The Distance In Between.

Swaths of faintly blues licks laid to genuinely rock stylings, The Rationales avoid the repetitious sounds bands can commonly fall into on third-albums through the well-placed use of electrifying guitar work and summer day anthems in virtually each of the seven tracks on Upstream. I can’t help but find heavy undertones of classic rock in The Rationales latest. The good stuff. This isn’t your parent’s long sideburns, white t-shirts, ‘Mercia rock. It is a genuinely independent sound that nods to the forerunners while maintaining a strong presence in their own skin.  Fresh assemblies of a truly American sound, hinting off and on at moments of great 90s alt-rock, combined with shredding breaks and truly energetic, unrestrained releases Upstream amounts to one hell of a record. Perhaps most importantly, Upstream solidifies The Rationales. It feels as though everything they’ve worked for leading up to this album has, in retrospect, been a struggle to find themselves. Well, here they are (they are certainly not Meghan Trainor). This is The Rationales I’ve been waiting for. This is The Rationales I wanted. This is The Rationales I didn’t know I needed in my life.

Oh, and while they appreciate it, they are certainly about more than just that bass.

Greg is a co-founder and regular contributor of Nanobot Rock

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