08 Aug 2009 // A review by Miss_Jukebox
They just do not write songs like they used to. Today live performances are judged on the laser-light extravaganza put on display rather than the raw sound and artistry of the musicians. You do not need band members to record a song anymore, just a bunch of computers. It is easy to be succumbed to this digital age where more is more; that is until an album like Standing in the Rain
, by Opensouls is delivered. It will literally strike a chord, transporting you back to when music felt instinctive and intimate.
This album is pure escapism. It is circa 1960 in 2009. Absolutely exquisite. Standing in the Rain
evokes those timeless artists from around the 60’s and 70’s, and it is done with such class and craft. Not at any stage does this album feel outdated. It begins with the title track ‘Standing in the Rain’ which features the Sami Sisters. Opensouls opens with a touch of gentle spring rain. It is nostalgic of the pattering of your lost first love. Then in bursts ‘Telephone Song’ which confirms that Tyra Hammond’s vocals are effortlessly commanding in a poignant yet tender way, something which carries through during this entire album.
‘Love Turns Wild’ turns the corner into an old jazz lounge, creating the ambience of the Motown scene. ‘When Ya Gonna Stop?’ is the new ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ with all the nectar and naivety of the original. You can feel the influence of The Temptations, especially in tracks such as this. But this album is not just an impressionist of this era. It feels bona fide, it feels current.
You can hear the candour through the heartfelt vocals of Hammond which complements the perfected instrumentation from Opensouls and those working with the band pn Standing in the Rain.
The magic is there in the performance and recording of the songs, but also in the essence of the song writing also. ‘Walk Away (Warm Love)’ is a romantic example of this. This is followed by the dexterity in ‘Dollars’, a Jeremy Toy, Harlin Davey and Tim Guy track. ‘Prayer’ is a compassionate composition, yet still maintains that solid-gold resonance.
An up-tempo, grooving number, ‘Blind to See’ keeps the momentum running in Standing in the Rain
, something which never waivers in this album. ‘Leave the Light On’ has the zeal of a Hollie Smith ballad, but with the gentler vocals of Hammond. ‘Spend Some Time’ is the surprise track. It is an acoustic number which is so appropriate for the song which sings ‘...I want to spend some time alone with you...one on one.’ And to close the album is ‘Hold You Close’ which one cannot help but draw links to ‘I Say a Little Prayer.’ In fact throughout Standing in the Rain
it is hard not to see the influence of artists such as Dionne Warwick and, as mentioned earlier, The Temptations.
This album is a tribute to these great artists, but in return has created a beautiful album by one beautiful New Zealand band. It brilliantly creates the aura of listening to a vinyl record, but it also shows the timelessness of such music. Opensouls tap into the emotion and heart of song writing and composition, and go on this beautiful journey to a time in music we should never abandon, and thanks to an album such as this, we would never dream of abandoning.