Best Melodic Rock album 2017 #3 : RAINTIMES – Raintimes (2017)
End of the year / beginning of 2018, it’s time to recap about the best 2017 releases, by category.
RAINTIMES’s songs may be simple, but highly melodi-cious catchy.
RAINTIMES is a new Melodic Rock band featuring two young and talented Italian musicians Pierpaolo ‘Zorro’ Monti (SHINING LINE, ROOM EXPERIENCE) and Davide Barbieri (WHEELS OF FIRE, CHARMING GRACE), together with awesome Canadian singer Michael Shotton (VON GROOVE) and also featuring Spanish guitarist Ivan Gonzalez (SECRET, 91 SUITE), Swede Sven Larsson (STREET TALK) and bass player Andrea Gipponi (ROOM EXPERIENCE).
As you see, all experienced cats from the Melodic Rock scene, and a true ‘international’ force.
“Raintimes is an album that I really wanted to use as a tribute to show my love and admiration for THE STORM (the early ’90s AOR band featuring Gregg Rollie and other JOURNEY members)” says Pierpaolo Monti.
‘I have played to death their two albums (especially ‘Eye of the Storm’): their mid-tempos, steeped in pure melodic class, are the perfect crossroad between AOR and Melodic Rock. The choice of Shotton as frontman however was based not only on my admiration for his talents, but because I wanted to give a strong personality to the album and make the music more personal and original.’
The duo Monti & Barbieri (together with Dave Zublena) incidentally penned the awesome song ‘Love Gets Through’ on the upcoming FIRST SIGNAL album to be released on Frontiers Music next year.
But the guys also have a solid background by themselves, especially the great albums with ROOM EXPERIENCE, SHINING LINE and CHARMING GRACE.
Add to this the pedigree of all the personnel involved, and you hvae here a wonderful slice of classic Melodic Rock / AOR with a modern update.
Indeed the classy JOURNEY / THE STORM is present all over “Raintimes”, and perhaps no better that on opener ‘Forever Gone’. what a wonderful tune, one of the best song of the year for the genre. Shotton owns the perfect pipes for this marterial, and there’s lots of harmony vocals, sweet keys and elegant guitars.
‘Make My Day’ has some TYKETTO on it, follower ‘Don’t Ever Give Up’ is a bright, uplifting poppy rocker, ‘I Need Tonight’ transpires STRANGEWAYS’ class, and the verses / chorus of ‘Just A Little Bit More’ are pure joy.
‘Swan’ is a top class ballad, ‘Together As Friends’ is embellidhed by lots of harmonies and keys, ‘Missing Piece’ rocks with a sweet cadence of guitars, and Shotton shine again on the organic slow midtempo ‘I See The Light’.
Honestly, I can’t find a weak track on this album. If we speak about classic MR / AOR, this CD is gold dust.
There’s half ROOM EXPERIENCE members here, so if you enjoyed their awesome album, you’ll love RAINTIMES as well. These guys got the know-how in the craft of this type of songs, and as a whole this is one of the surprises of the year.
01. Forever Gone
02. Make My Day
03. Don’t Ever Give Up
05. I Need Tonight
07. Just A Little Bit More
08. Empty Days
09. Together As Friends
10. Missing Piece
11. I See The Light
Michael Shotton (Von Groove) – Vocals
Iván González (Secret, 91 Suite) – Guitars
Sven Larsson (Street Talk, Charming Grace) – Guitars
Andrea Gipponi (Room Experience) – Bass
“Zorro” Monti (Shining Line, Charming Grace, Room Experience) – Drums & Percussion
Davide “Dave Rox” Barbieri (Wheels Of Fire, Charming Grace, Room Experience) – Keyboards & Backing Vocals
Niclas Olsson – Keyboards on 5
Philip Lindstrand – Backing Vocals on 5
Alessandro Del Vecchio: Keyboards, Backing Vocals on 7
Erica Trovato: Backing Vocals on 9
Jesús Espín: Backing Vocals on 10
Daniel Flores: Percussion on 11
Michele Luppi: Keyboards on 11