Exposé Online banner

Radio Massacre International — Rain Falls in Grey
(Cuneiform Rune 256, 2007, CD)

by Paul Hightower, 2009-07-01:

Rain Falls in Grey Cover art Head pixie Daevid Allen’s cover art, featuring a colorful half-toned rendition of Syd Barrett, provides the first clue as to what lies within this jewel case. Call it retro-psych, post-modern psych, psych psych… whatever. I call it pretty damn good. British trio Radio Massacre International are better known for their EM and space rock, though Barrett’s death – days before they began work on the album – forced a course correction resulting in this disk, a sort of love letter to Syd that’s more than just a tribute. Echoes of Floyd circa '67/'68 do poke their heads through the patchouli haze, including nods to “Astronomie Dominie” and “Interstellar Overdrive” within the four-part extravaganza that opens the album and which comes crashing to a close on the succinctly titled “Syd.” It encompasses many classic psych rock trademarks pioneered by Barrett-era Floyd, but also echoing Daevid Allen’s work with early Gong, and even the intense psych rock of early Porcupine Tree. Several tracks are graced by the saxes, clarinets, and flutes of Martin Archer whose playing lends them the same soulful magic that Dick Parry gave the Floyd on their seminal mid 70s albums. The album closes with a spacious and bluesy guitar improvisation by Gary Houghton that is emotionally wrenching and about as heartfelt a musical statement as I’ve heard in a long time. RMI fans expecting more Berlin-school EM may be in for a surprise with this one, but I have a feeling it will be a pleasant one.

by Jon Davis, 2009-07-01:

I was initially concerned that my lack of experience with RMI’s back catalog might be a hindrance to writing a useful review. I needn’t have worried, since this release is a drastic departure from the general thrust of their previous work. Far from being another entry into their oeuvre of sequenced electronic sounds, this is a rocking stab into the heart of space rock. As a tribute to Syd Barrett, early Pink Floyd is the jumping off point for a set of tunes both epic and compact, free and composed. The guest players on wind instruments and electric violin add dimensions to the music that, while maintaining a clear connection to their inspiration, even Syd and Co. never dreamed of. The sax work on the title track makes me think of Sun Ra covering “Interstellar Overdrive” – which is not a bad thing at all. Some sequencing pops up from time to time, reminding the listener that maybe the distance between Dark Side of the Moon (post-Syd, I know) and Phaedra is maybe not so far as you would think. I doubt many Exposé readers believe that space rock is a dead genre, but this stellar (pun intended) release is ample evidence to anyone who cares to listen that there’s life in the old starship yet. And given the versatility that is amply shown here, I will be very concerned if I hear RMI’s next album will take on symphonic prog. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Filed under: New releases , Issue 37 , 2007 releases

Related artist(s): Radio Massacre International, Cyndee Lee Rule, Martin Archer

More info

Latest news

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Jan Hammer - The First Seven Days – Ah, for those simpler days, before New Age fossilized into colorless bits of seemingly nutritious but flavor-free soy-based meat substitutes, before anyone realized that there was no place for...  (2005) » Read more

Iona - Journey into the Morn – Released quietly at the end of last year, this seems to be the album that will earn Iona the recognition and following they have long deserved. This is clearly their strongest effort yet, touching all...  (1996) » Read more

Errata Corrige - Siegfried, il Drago e Altre Storie – In #4 I reviewed the new reformation album by this obscure 70s group. This album was their debut in the mid-70s and is not surprisingly quite a bit different from Mappamondo. This album is a beautiful...  (1995) » Read more

Nels Cline - New Monastery: A View into the Music of Andrew Hill – Nels Cline’s affinity for pummeling sound boundaries as well as working within jam bands and standard song structures (e.g. – Wilco) is now further realized within the works of another...  (2008) » Read more

Soft Machine - Soft Machine Turns On, Volume 1 & 2 – The legacy of the early Soft Machine has been chronicled by many bootlegs and re-releases of the band's first album demos by Giorgio Gomelsky. What so far have not surfaced are official recordings...  (2002) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues