Published on December 23rd, 2017 | by Justin G.
Raintimes: Raintimes (Frontiers)
I had pretty low expectations of the latest Frontiers mash-up called Raintimes. For one thing, there’s already an Italian band called Raintime, so adding an s seemed kind of tacky. And I hadn’t heard the main players’ (drummer Pierpalo Monti and keyboardist Davide Barbieri) main band Charming Grace before. I am a fan of singer Michael Shotton (Von Groove) though, so I figured I’d at least give the Raintimes debut a listen. “A listen” turned into “many listens,” much to my surprise.
What struck me the most about the Raintimes album is that it sounds so much like a classic Europe album. Imagine Europe making new albums that sounded like Prisoners in Paradise instead of Deep Purple, and you’ll get pretty close to Raintimes. Part of that is Shotton’s voice, which is still so powerful and shows no sign of aging, and part of that is the fact that Monti and Barbieri show such a flair for writing classic sounding melodic rock. Guitarists Ivan Gonzalez (91 Suite) and Sven Larsson (Street Talk) serve up the kind of catchy melodies and sublime solos an album like this relies on, and are the perfect companions to Shotton’s vocals.
Raintimes is such a catchy album, whether it’s Europe-style rockers like “Forever Gone” and “Just a Little Bit More,” Survivor/Journey-inspired AOR songs like “Don’t Ever Give Up” or even ballads like “I See the Light,” the result is well-written, perfectly crafted melodic rock that will win over even the most “project weary” cynics.
Raintimes is a late contender for my “best of 2017” list. It has the staying power that a lot of these projects lack, and is just so damned smooth that no fan of classic style melodic rock will be able to resist it. Fans of Kee Marcello-era Europe, Tyketto, Journey, Houston, One Desire and the like should absolutely love this one.
Summary: More Europe than Europe