ALBUM REVIEW: The Rationales - Upstream

Written by Jessica Klausing

“Go for what I’m after. Never mind disaster. Give the past a future. Where I find-- I’m ready to go!” This opening line on “Ready to Go” is the heart of The Rationales’ new album, Upstream. With songs of loss, regret, nostalgia, and longing David Mirabella makes you feel like you’re riding shotgun with him on the back roads in New England as he tells his stories.

Right off, you’ll notice David’s voice. It’s dreamy. It’s that reassuring voice you want to hear during an emergency protocol. Backed with Sean Black (bass), Mike Mirabella (drums), Chad Raleigh (guitars), David Lieb (keyboards), and Adam Hand (pedal steel), The Rationales deliver a lush rock sound that’s artistically conscious of Powerpop, Alternative Country, Americana, and the Blues, to name a few.

The sound of the electrifying guitar opener, “Ready to Go” is not your granddaddy’s rock n’ roll! This is driving, swirling with electronic sounds and heavy beats. That ripping guitar solo at the 1:52 mark gets the adrenaline pumped up for the rest of the album.

“Trade You” takes the rhythm into Dire Straits territory. That infectious groove takes hold and refuses to let go. It’s easily my favorite off the album. Beyond the sultry guitar licks are the melancholic lyrics. “I’ll trade you for your loss. I’ll trade you for your lies. I’ll trade you for your silence this time.” The song deals with someone always wanting to trade misfortunes with others. Think of it as those people who overshare on social media.

The album shifts gears for “Under the Gun,” a somber country tune about growing up to face responsibility. “All the While” kicks things up a notch again. David Lieb shines on this track with his saloon piano styling. The attitude and style of the track gives it a swanky 50’s rock vibe. “I’ve been lucky all along. Always getting what I want. You’re an ocean. I am open to be sinking like a stone.” Oh yeah, it's got plenty of attitude.

Another highlight was “Climb the Ladder,” which has seamless instrumental transitions. The song starts with an Americana sound as it segues into a piano breakdown. Mike Mirabella’s vocals layered over the piano chords gives it a haunting touch. It’s slow moving, but that changes as it gradually intensifies and gets a screaming guitar solo brought into it.

“Take a Ride with Me” gets back to the country roots found earlier in the album; Only this time a bit more Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers-esque. The song shows a desire to take a chance with someone or just take a ride to just see where it goes.

The final track “Dulcinea” is an emotional resonant song. David croons about a person so consumed with their own nostalgia that the fantasy takes over reality. Upon first listen my thoughts went straight to Miguel De Cervantes’ Don Quixote. A story of a man’s quest based solely on his mental exaggeration.

Upstream proves that The Rationales are well-seasoned musicians who love what they do. The guitar work on this album is on point with its electrifying riffs and solos that are just jaw dropping. Right from the opener I enjoyed the anticipation of what would come next. Give it a listen on your next road trip excursion.

The album will be available on August 3rd. You can pre-order now on the band's bandcamp.

The Rationales are having a special album release show on Aug 3rd at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA. Get your tickets HERE.

Recommended Tracks: "Ready to Go," "Trade You," "All the While," "Climb the Ladder," and "Dulcinea."
 

ALBUM REVIEW: Jourdan Myers - Ruin Me With Love

Written by Jessica Klausing

Jourdan Myers taps into an underrated pop territory. Many pop artists don’t venture too far from Electronica but Myers dares to explore. Her record weaves through Broadway, Industrial Rock, Classical, and bluesy anthems. Ruin Me With Love is a piano heavy, lyrically driven power punch about her struggles and the inner strength to persevere.

The piano rockin’ opener, “Lifetime or Before” sets the bar high for the album. The song is a fun, upbeat pop tune worthy of radio play. Myers’ angelic vocal chops soar over the heavy beats much like a Sara Bareilles song.

Myers breaks out her inner blueswoman for “Push Me on the Playground.” The song alludes to a childhood bully during recess. “Recess has become my worst enemy/You hide behind your smile now but soon you will be found out.” Well timed finger snaps, foot stomps, and percussion make up the back beat. The saxophone solo drives it into a fierce Jazz territory towards the end.

“Firelight” waxes the romantic poetic with “Dance me with your eyes. Sing me with your song. Drown me in your flood. Burn me with your fire. Quench my one desire. Ruin me with love.” Upon closer listen this song might not be as sweet as you think. The theme seems to touch on our animal magnetism towards falling in love.

“The Fight” stood out for its mechanical production. The song uses war imagery to metaphor overcoming any challenge. The tempo intensifies with Myers’ dramatic storytelling: “Charging up the hill and advancing with a yell and going for the kill.” With every gunshot and boisterous boom, you can just close your eyes and see a battle come to life.

“Wanderlust” returned to the piano-powered roots. This song was like a spirited continuation to the opening track. The album shifts gears again for “End of Me.” The intro crackles like an old phonograph but then rolls right into another somber waltz.

My favorite song is “Dusty Roses.” The song is a peppy little Broadway-esque tune about moving on from life’s disappointments. You just can’t help but sing-a-long to “You swear one of a kind, big blue eyes your heart is his forever but he is gone and in a storm with nothing left to sever. These thorns are in your side. Why the hesitation?”

The final track “Slow Motion” sounds like a continuation from the previous track, “Be Here.” The song digs into more mechanical background sounds. Personally, I tend to favor these tracks. I hope that Myers will expand more into the industrial side of the pop genre.

The album is compelling – Myers’ vocals are pitch perfect, the instrumentation is graceful and the lyrics are sweet and sharp.  I’m eager to see where Myers’ musical evolution will take us on the next record.

Recommended Tracks: “Lifetime or Before,” “Long Days,” “Push Me on the Playground,” “The Fight,” “Voice of Silver,” “Dusty Roses,” and “Slow Motion.”