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Steve Peake

This Week's Forgotten Gem of the '80s - The Rain Parade - "You Are My Friend"

By April 7, 2014

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Waking up on a rainy Monday may not generally be one of the greatest experiences of life, but unsettled weather (and unsettled emotions, for that matter) can certainly be made more tolerable by the presence of music like this. Even before I was awake and alert enough to acknowledge the literal connection between this band's name and today's meteorological conditions, I felt I had stumbled upon an instance of '80s music kismet. So without risking excessive self-congratulation, this is a pretty damn fine choice, if I do say so myself. Which, of course, I just did.

Anyway, The Rain Parade emerged from the Paisley Underground scene of Los Angeles during the early '80s, embracing the chiming, jangly guitars of The Byrds as well as a sedate, delicate devotion to melody and harmony. The group - led by brothers David and Steven Roback - didn't necessarily attract widespread critical acclaim, as some prominent self-appointed purveyors of music quality expressed no shortage of disdain for a sound they felt was nothing if not derivative and uninspired. However, when it comes to thick layers of mood, dreamy melancholy and gentle sonic beauty, a listener could do far worse and could hardly do better than the lovely "You Are My Friend." Music fans appreciative of power pop and particularly revival bands like Teenage Fanclub will find plenty to enjoy here, from the deliberate, ringing chords and psychedelic lead guitars of Matt Piucci to the sad, soft vocal delivery of Steven Roback. Even if brother David had already left the band by the 1984 recording of this track (eventually going on to form similarly dreamy outfits Opal and Mazzy Star), the remaining quartet strikes a confident blow with this tune for staying indoors and simply contemplating, if nothing else, the basic misery of the human condition. OK, I think it's time for me to get up and get dressed now.

Album Cover Image Courtesy of Enigma

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