We wrote about Blake Luley’s Rainwater last year when they released their debut full length album, Swimming in Sunlight. The record, which was pitched somewhere between dream pop, post-rock and folk, was one of delicate balances, where the “dreamy shimmer is cut through with shoegazey percussion and post-rock flourishes, melancholy and hope acting as counterbalances, light and dark swirling through one another in complex patterns.” Rainwater are back with a brand new EP, Place, again released through our friends at Furious Hooves.
Place is a travelling album, documenting a trans-American trip as Luley relocated from New York to the Pacific Northwest. Thus, the ‘place’ of the title is a strange and vague one, a series of fleeting images as seen from the car window, each a home to stories and histories and ways of life, yet passed on by and replaced by the next location. If there’s a certain loneliness to this feeling, then it’s not an entirely unpleasant one, the roadside hush and constant motion producing a kind of wistful freedom, where no sadness or doubt can pin you down as long as the wheels are still turning and there’s asphalt left to cruise. This sense of isolation circles back thematically to Luley’s move—leaving familiarity behind, passing by all of these places that others call home, heading for a place in which you can only hope to feel comfort and belonging.
The meandering flow of ‘Driftwood’ picks up these ideas, speaking of the element of chance circumstance involved in any relocation, and ‘Coffee’ follows with a drowsy lack of focus, as though being cast between the past and future, old home and new, has sapped any sense of purpose and identity. Then, despite it’s sunny disposition, ‘Ordinary Pain’ confronts this head on, asking the question overtly:
“Will I know the pleasure
of settling down, being better off?
Will it bring me joy to know
I can settle down and let it go
or will I just hold this ordinary pain?”
‘Rolling Train’ has a sense of motion built into its very DNA, the dreamy vocals pining for movement and progression, before the rich instrumental interlude of ‘Burt’ heralds the closing title track. A warmly ambient song, ‘Place’ is again explicit in its questioning, playing like late night thinking where no amount of playing cool or keeping busy can stave off the obvious worries:
“How longs it take to forget a place?
The light it gives and the life it takes?
Is all of the waiting in vain?
What a waste”
However, in keeping with the release as a whole, ‘Place’ ends with a gentle sense of kindness (“Hold on, take the time to breath / Know it’s time and what you need “) which swells into a triumphant crescendo, as though through acknowledging then dropping concerns allows life in the moment, one where questions do not need to be answered right away, and decisions are not judged on the immediate results.