Local PA boys, The Badlees, treat us to another finely crafted album titled Love Is Rain. The entire album was produced, engineered, recorded and mixed at Saturation Acres studio. Saturation Acres is a local recording studio where many local musicians and bands go to record their tunes. I believe that The Badlees are fortunate to have Bret Alexander’s technical wizardry in their corner, because this album sparkles.
Love is Rain gives me the same warm feeling that River Songs gives me. “Angeline Is Coming Home” and “Fear Of Falling” will stand proudly next to these hits. The Badlees always produce a very consistent sound. Maybe it is Pete Palladino’s vocals or Bret Alexander’s guitar work that define their thinking-man’s pop, but it is always a welcomed listen. The overall production value of the album is slightly out shined by the eye-opening, smart riffs and songs that comprise this fifty-four minute gem.
The opening tune “Peter Pan” greets us with a saturated, over-driven guitar riff to wake us up, then it backs off into that familiar Badlees groove. The solo breakdown is complimented with Latin auxiliary percussion and a floating keyboard line that has a Stone Temple Pilots groove to it.
“Star To Fall” treats us to an acoustic groove that runs nicely into a toe-tapping chorus that everyone can sing along with. The multi-layers of overdubbed, backup vocals are a Badlees staple. It works well in this tune and in all of the tunes that follow.
In “Anodyne”, we get to hear some slide guitar work on the intro over the chord progression: E-B-C#m-A. As we cruise into the verses, the guitar vibrato effect outlines an interesting chord progression: F#m-A-E-B. They then use an transition trick, going from B major, followed with a B minor chord. The major-to-minor chord progression is a nice flavor we don’t hear too often in pop music. The Badlees use this transition a few times throughout this album.
Perhaps they are made to sound as such, but the drums in “Well Laid Plans” sound sequenced? This adds a different textural palette to the album, but not one that I particularly felt was needed.
If you are looking for a title track, you won’t find it. However, in the song “Drive Back Home”, Pete pleads with us: “But I say that if struggle is the thunder, Love is rain.”
The opening riff in “Way Back Home” is huge and rocking. Then, suddenly it backs off into a light section that adds a very striking contrast. Then, we get pounded with heavy chords for the verses. The riff has a Black Crowes groove to it. The chorus kicks it in double time and then returns us back to the natural groove.
Whether you are a Badless fan or not, this album will sit nicely in any CD collection if you are looking for a feel good album with heart, soul, musicianship and Pennsylvania blood, sweat and tears.