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Tracklist: 1. Marie's a Woman 2-46 2. Leave It At That 4-30 3. Don't Be Misled 2-18 4. Rough Cut Marmalade 11-04 5. Goodyear 4-01 6. Sea Song 4-12 7. Lay Me Down 1-16 8. Reason Why 4-42 9. Fall Out 4-12 Line-up: Graham Maitland - keyboards Rick Sharp - guitars Clive Burges - bass Kim - drums Sharon Tandy - vocals All tracks by Graham Maitland. Produced by Brian Carroll & Damon Lyon-Shaw. Recorded at "IBC" studios, London, UK.
Prologue. While, according to the CD booklet notes, Five Day Rain was just one of many projects of the talented English composer and musician Graham Maitland, this album is my first acquaintance with his creation. Also, despite the fact that I didn't find even a trace of another vocalist, apart from the band drummer's girlfriend Sharon Tandy (originally, from South Africa) in the CD's booklet, all lead vocals of the only Five Day Rain album were sung by a male singer (I guess it was Graham Maitland himself).
The Album. For the first time I listened to an album, where the songs were placed in an order so simple and unpretentiously. For example, all of the best compositions are assembled in the first part of "Five Day Rain", while all of the inferior compositions are on the second part. It is obvious that there were not too many songs, composed with inspiration (but not botched in a slapdash manner, as the last four songs) in the arsenal of Graham Maitland for this exact album, so I appreciate the work of the producers of "Five Day Rain". Instead of intermixing good and bad tracks among themselves, they've made an access to the (first five) best songs of the album easy and comfortable. Fortunately, the first (and best) part of the songs of the album occupies two thirds of the playing time of it. Generally not too complex, each of the songs Marie's a Woman, Leave It At That, Don't Be Misled, and Goodyear (tracks 1, 2, 3, & 5 respectively) contains, however, a few different, original, and very touching vocals themes as well as very interesting and diverse instrumental arrangements. Being created within a frame of a unified stylistics, structurally all of them represent quite an original blend of Symphonic Progressive and Hard Rock. Rough Cut Marmalade (track 4) is the only instrumental on the album. Although Rough Cut Marmalade sounds in a way different from all the tracks that are featured on the album, the presence of such an excellent, kind of alternative, piece among the said four songs is more than defensible. (Ouch, if only at least a couple of the last four tracks would have sounded in the vein of the first four songs, then "Five Day Rain" would be a short, but excellent album.) Unlike all the songs, the Rough Cut Marmalade is instrumental, probably being composed so as to demonstrate the real (excellent) performing capabilities of each of the band's musicians and a mastery of their joint performance as well, was played in high speed on the whole. This way, having in addition all of the essential progressive ingredients, Rough Cut Marmalade became the best, most progressive composition on the album. Well, it's time to talk about the last four songs on the album. First off, all the songs (Sea Song, Fall Out, Reason Why, and the 1-minute (!) Lay Me Down) sound absolutely uninspired. Also, unlike the really thoughtful first four songs, all the last four ones are too simple compositionally, as each of them, not counting Lay Me Down that generally sounds like nonsense), contains all the same couplets and refrains, just repeated a few times, were performed to the accompaniment of primitive chords of a rhythm-guitar and keyboards (organ or piano) and a monotonous pace by the rhythm section. A few of really noticeable solos (ludicrous, actually), that sound on the last one third of the album, were played on a mouth organ. Such cheerful "vocalizes" as La-la-la or na-na-na, used instead of lyrics in places there, just add another portion of despondency to a Prog lover (like myself, for example). I wonder why the last 'n' empty 13 minutes were added to the excellent 27-minute mini-LP "Five Day Rain"...
Summary. By the way, now I am inclined to think that it would be really better if the excellent and weak songs would have been (properly!) intermixed among themselves at the time when the album was produced. Then the difference between the first and second parts of the album wouldn't be as evident as it is in reality, and then I'd probably regard "Five Day Rain" as a really good album. On the other hand, if the two worst tracks (7 & 8 - Lay Me Down and Reason Why) were not included in the album, and Sea Song and Fall Out were intermixed with the remaining five (excellent) compositions, then "Five Day Rain" would be a short yet very good full-length LP / CD.
VM. October 29, 2001
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