Clay: Let me be the first to give a hearty “welcome back” to the Rationales. After providing the seminal “summer rock” album The Distance in Between in 2011, the Bostonian quintet is at it again. But here’s the thing: I feel like they shed their feel-good power pop and put on their classic rock hats. This EP is edgier, darker, and bursting at the seams with hard rock goodness.
Greg: Indeed, welcome back Rationales. I have been anxiously awaiting the release of Dream of Fire for some time. Thankfully the results lived up to the excitement. The Rationales come out swinging and it is evident that the time between releases only complimented the well planned, tight rock experience to kick off 2014.
Clay: Am I remembering things differently or does seem like a band that has entirely reinvented themselves? David Mirabella’s melodic tenor is still there, but a lot of that fun-loving Americana seems to have gone to the wayside. Their first single, “Radio,” is a chunky power-chord train to Awesometown. Along for the ride are some classic rock-infused keyboard backings and a Tom Morello-esque wah-wah bridge. Do they sound like they put on their tough-guy boots to you?
Greg: “Radio” is more than just great instrumental also. They speak to music as a whole “The lights are on/so is the radio/its like religion in my soul.”
Granted these gents claim “Indie Rock with heaping sides of Powerpop and Americana” I would venture to say we are on the verge of something new. Something unknown. Something, dare I say, Nanobot. Does the sound encompass a large “tough-guy” presence? Sure. Is it Indie Rock? No. Is it Powerpop? Sorry Biebs, take a hike. Americana? Here’s where things get interesting.
Dream of Fire is a new style Americana. It takes a very American rooted rock sound, hangs it by the feet and knocks the living classic out of it with a precise driving force that is on-your-feet entertaining. From Hook-laden “Drunk all the Time” to the dammit-I-want-more “Let It Go” the road is paved with raw rock tenacity.
Clay: I don’t know as we are broaching a new genre, and I certainly don’t want to get into branding… hang on, let me check with my lawyer… yeah, no branding. It feels like Americana and pop, but like the band is dreaming of the AM radio instead of fire.
For those of us who grew up with a piece of tin foil on our radio antenna, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a warm, familiar sound to have each track punctuated with a face-melting and gut wrenching guitar solo. I could see “Last Words” performed at a high school dance any time from 1973 to 1993 and no one batting an eye. It is classic, and it is good.
Greg: Due to previous court orders I am prohibited from attempting this, but if this were on AM radio, it would set it on fire. In just five tracks it feels like classic is reworked. Not necessarily a worldly game-changer sense, but more like finding a door you never knew was there and discovering a wave of sound that is not only fun to ride again and again but it has the strength flow coast-to-coast. The immediate familiarity draws you in and the American Rock keeps you around. It is like a Snuggie of all things that make American rock great. Take that branding!
Clay: Well, like the Snuggie™, I can only hope these guys get the same type of
coverage national reach. Boston, I love you, but it is time to share this band with the rest of the country. The Rationales have harnessed all that is good about rock without any of its annoying quirks and tucked it into put out a fantastic little EP in Dream of Fire. Go get it now, or else I may make some more blanket puns.