With a mid-range that sound likes a fireball trying to punch through existence, 雨の中の馬 bring the thrill of a punk band and the mind-bending guitar gnarling of the draziest of shoegazers.
Artist – 雨の中の馬
Album – Triste
Label – Self-released
Website – amenonakanouma.bandcamp.com
As a child I was fascinated by the ability of airplanes to fly through clouds. It was shocking to hear my mother tell me that the plane could simply pass through the cloud. From there I imagined what it would be like to be on a plane passing through a cloud. Would it be like the wild ride in Willy Wonka? The existential obliviation of entering a black hole? A candy-colored trip through paradise. You can imagine my disappointment that first time as a child on an airplane as it passed through a cloud. Being on a plane was already an unprecedented concentration of the most boring matter in the universe. Passing through a cloud just meant I couldn’t see out the window.
Somehow 雨の中の馬 have been in contact with my childhood imagination as they have wrangled it into sonic form. No doubt, Triste feels like entering a cloud, it’s sound is dense, enveloping, suffocating, claustrophobic, but its is also bright, brilliant, colorful, shiny.
Yes, this is a shoegaze album, but it fully inhabits its own space. For starters, 雨の中の馬 write songs. These aren’t beautiful sound sketches with a half-hearted attempt at structure tacked on at the last minute. Like the Jesus and Mary Chain, who melded classic pop with sheets of noise, 雨の中の馬 use the more fun side of 90s alternative rock, (Pavement, Weezer) as a songwriting base, then throw in some total sonic annihilation. Good idea.
Now shoegaze isn’t exactly known for generating bands that are hook machines, which is why the opening salvo of Loveless, “Only Shallow” has always been so impressive-it leaves you walking around singing, “chk chk chk chk chk chk chk bwah bwah waaaaah uh wah wah.” Miraculously, 雨の中の馬 also achieve this on the song “Triste” leaving me at my desk at work singing, “buuuuum waah aaah ah.”
However, take heed, this stuff is raw. It is not the album that required decades in the studio to make sure the 35th guitar track is whammied exactly right. Now, I don’t know the actual production conditions, but I imagine the band entered the studio, set the guitars to nuclear blast, and let the rest of the instruments fight for the right to be heard. Yes, the vocals are mixed a bit low, but the vocals aren’t the star.
The songs are straightforward: simple, pleasing chord changes, two to three sections per song, and when the band hits on something beautiful, 雨の中の馬 is unafraid to repeat it until its burrowed deep in your brain. This approach is for the best, too. The wall of sound they bring, if paired with dissonance or out-there chord changes would be a better prescription for a headache than a journey through the psychedelic cloud.
Triste is definitely worth your time. The real question is how 雨の中の馬 will move forward. The rawness on Triste suits fifteen minutes of scorched earth hooks, but it might not work for a full album. Here’s hoping that 雨の中の馬 can keep it up.