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RAIN

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Rain biography
Being absolutely honest, I had some prejudice against this band due to the enormous amount of spam received in my PM account of Prog Archives and even personal mail, something to what I'm not used to, this kind of aggressive advertising produces the contrary effect than the desired by the person who floods my boxes, but it was for free in their website and the comments were pretty good, so decided to give them a chance and what I heard was really good.

To start the bio we must say that RAIN is not a band, we're talking about a multi-instrumentalist and filmmaker who plays almost every instrument in his debut album including: bass, keyboards, guitars, Jerusalem pipes, vocals, eye, with the efficient narration of Rob Brown and a group of competent musicians mostly in the chords and backing vocals.

There is not much more we can say about RAIN because his site provides absolutely no information about him and not easy to find in the net either.

Despite what Phil Collins (Well, not a good reference when talking about musical taste with a proghead), Tony Banks, Martin Offord or Tony Smith and many personalities have said about "Cerulean Blue" being the quintessential Progressive Rock experience of the 21st Century, I don't think so, the album is good but not outstanding, the sound is oriented towards Symphonic with clear Genesis references plus Pink Floyd influence with clear Neo Prog and Ambient/New Age echoes.

The choral arrangements are outstanding and the wonderful strings a la Vivaldi deserve a special mention, but the music is simple in Prog terms. Good for fans of soft Symphonic or Neo Prog.

Iván Melgar Morey - Perú

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RAIN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.59 | 51 ratings
Cerulean Blue
2004

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RAIN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cerulean Blue by RAIN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.59 | 51 ratings

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Cerulean Blue
Rain Symphonic Prog

Review by jude111

5 stars A beautiful album. Everyone seems to have a favorite tune, mine is the first track. The only thing wrong with this CD for me is the narration. If anyone knows of a program that can get rid of the narrator's voice without losing the integrity of the music, please let me know! I can trim the songs, but then I lose those beautiful strings and background effects that underlie the narrator.

As far as influences go, wow. Is this Marillion's follow-up to BRAVE? No, wait, maybe it's the Blue Nile's follow-up to HATS. Or wait. It's a Roger Waters-penned album, with Jackson Browne (?!) on vocals. No, wait, it's Talk Talk, with Mark Hollis leaving behind his minimalist phase and embracing lusher orchestration.

This album needs to be in the top 100, I think. I'm not even sure how it is I came across it here at PA last month, but I've been on this site off and on pretty regularly for probably a decade and only now have come across it.

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 Cerulean Blue by RAIN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.59 | 51 ratings

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Cerulean Blue
Rain Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

2 stars Interesting concept, yet unable to pass production. One third of this record is composed by storytelling done by spoken voice, another third is composed of mourning strings and the last third is (finally) decent Wilson-esque kind of Prog. I am currently reading Ballard's "Hello America", which is also about a kind of journey, so I can really relate here. I like the story, it's intelligent, philosophical, witty and full of ironic remarks. But the more important thing is the music element, which is in lacking. This album is Prog by the way of thinking, by its way of moving, not by how it sounds.

2(+), for the story (the main star) and decent supporting "band" of the main star (the music).

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 Cerulean Blue by RAIN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.59 | 51 ratings

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Cerulean Blue
Rain Symphonic Prog

Review by R-A-N-M-A

4 stars If I was going to rate an album only based on its concept, the profundity of Cerulean Blue would easily warrant five stars. I have yet encounter another album whose concept is simultaneously so deep, so well realized, so multi-faceted and yet so understandable. The mechanism by which this is all possible are the detailed narrations which precede each of the tracks. The most superficial layer of the story is in seven postcards which chronicle Rick, a young Brit's, journey across the United States from New York to LA and up to Alaska. Following each of the post cards a now older and much less optimistic Rick, Mr. Yeager, retraces his footsteps and provided his weathered and jaded addendums. The juxtaposition between old and new is a constant on the album.

Deeper yet, the album dissects the United States and the American dream from a very British perspective. Our narrator is actually Rob Brown a British born jazz man who now lives in New York City. Many British metaphors are used most overly Avalon and Jerusalem (as in the Hymn). Ultimately the evaluation proves a bit unkind.

Further on down, it's simple to note a third duality; that between reality and fantasy. Each of the first 6 tracks focus on a form of escape: utopianism, myth and dreams, death, space travel, Hollywood and religion. These notions much more than the old/new concept form the basis for the songs themselves. On the seventh track Rick decides to face reality at the top of Mount McKinley in Alaska, North America's highest peak.

I dare say there's likely even more to it, but I may not be properly equipped to delve into that. Shades of Kierkegaard's material, moral and spiritual phases of life creep in and there is explicit mention of Karl Jung. Other subtle references like the opening rain (also the name of the band) and closing wind and snow are riddled throughout. If you are looking for an intellectual and continually engrossing listening experience look no further.

Notice how I said listening rather than musical. The thing with Cerulean Blue is that so much of the delivery is through the narrative to the point that the songs almost come off as an afterthought. They are for the most part mellow, psychedelic and a little depressing, but they aren't same-y. All 6 of the songs are quite good in my opinion. The seventh track has a little music, but it's mostly narrative and it concludes with an unfortunate three minutes of swirling winds.

The highlights of the album are the uplifting "Jerusalem" and "the silver apples of the moon" which is delightfully loaded with references to the geography of the moon. The nice thing is that these tracks don't simply blow the rest of the album away. It is very consistent, and consistently good at that.

So where does that leave us? As if it wasn't all astounding enough. Rain isn't even really the work of a band, it's mostly just one guy who wrote the whole thing and played pretty much all the instruments. Cerulean Blue is a dense but rewarding concept album which is best listened to as a whole. In one final duality, the weight of the concept is also juxtaposed against the almost weightless music. Who would I recommend it for? Anyone. Give this one a go. Even if you don't end up liking it I think you'll want to have heard it. For my part I think there are a few glaring flaws in the delivery especially in the almost needless 7th track, but it doesn't stop me from really liking this album. I can't go far enough to call it essential but its damn close. Four out of Five.

P.S. The best line of the album is on the 7th track. "I'm going out now. I may not be back for some time."

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 Cerulean Blue by RAIN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.59 | 51 ratings

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Cerulean Blue
Rain Symphonic Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars Cerulean Blue is one of the more depressing albums one might hear. Despite the lengthy track times, I do not consider this progressive rock. Most of the songs tread along at more or less the same pace and do so with few modifications. In terms of instrumentation, the album is more akin to New Age music than symphonic rock. The lyrics are impressive, if inscrutable. Perhaps the overall project is indulgent, but I do not fault it for that- it is a whimsical, if sad, journey. Cerulean Blue is a hypnotically beautiful experience, if somewhat burdened by its own sedateness.

"The Lammas Lands" After an airplane passes, bittersweet strings enter and the narrator speaks. Sparse, mournful music with piano serves as a thin foundation for the lovely singing of mystifying words. The music builds appropriately and gradually, developing passion. I am reminded of Kate Bush on Hounds of Love.

"Parsifal" Following more strings and narration, deep, resonant saxophone ushers in a cold choir. A passage during the second half of the song is somewhat heavier, with organ, louder drums, and a jazzy saxophone. The repeated last two lines are hauntingly enigmatic.

"Starcrossed" The narrator describes a skeptical encounter with a suicidal cult. The music is bright and acoustic guitar-based. It's a brighter song with some Near Eastern flavor.

"The Silver Apples of the Moon" The narration here is incredibly chilling, especially with the woman. The pedant in me wishes to point out that "the pursuit of happiness" is not in the Constitution- it's in the Declaration of Independence. The music here begins on twelve-string acoustic guitar and piano- very shimmering. However, the vocals are dull and spiritless for me. The fiercest part of the piece seems to invoke Eloy before becoming calm and gentle.

"Light and Magic" This piece opens with strings and narration. The song proper is like light jazz with an easygoing groove but a Mike Oldfield-like synthetic background that doesn't seem to fit the rhythm. To me, the overall song sounds like Radiohead- laidback, mournful, and mysterious. An amazing saxophone solo punches through the airy music- an unexpected treat.

"Jerusalem" The narration tells a sad story of a man selling the secrets of life for a dollar. I am reminded of The Final Cut from Pink Floyd, particularly "When the Tigers Broke Free." The singer this time around sounds like Andy Tillison of The Tangent. A bagpipe solo (which could have proved more triumphant) concludes the song.

"Cerulean Blue" The final piece consists of a mournful, Alaskan goodbye with strings playing what may as well be funeral music.

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 Cerulean Blue by RAIN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.59 | 51 ratings

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Cerulean Blue
Rain Symphonic Prog

Review by MaxerJ

4 stars An excellent addition to any prog collection. RAIN comes out of nowhere with an album that sounds as matured as century-old wine. It's probably not the best choice for the eclectic or heavy prog fans, delving mostly into violin-based soundscapes, which remind me a bit of PHIDEAUX. However, the album is very dark and melancholy, and I found it difficult to listen to the whole thing in one sitting because of this. Maybe this problem will go away sometime. This does not mean it is any less fantastic. For a debut CERULEAN BLUE is a great album. Without going into too much detail about each song, 'The Lammas Land', 'Jerusalem' and the title song are standouts.

It is free for download from RAIN's website, so I really don't think there is any reason for a true prog fan not to pick up this album. Most highly recommended.

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 Cerulean Blue by RAIN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.59 | 51 ratings

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Cerulean Blue
Rain Symphonic Prog

Review by topofsm

3 stars Cerulean Blue is a musical and lyrical journey of one man (Rick) and a journey across America. The lyrics are thoughtful and poignant, and the orchestral mood of the album flows beautifully through the tracks. Although some of the compositions may dawdle a bit musically and seem underdeveloped, there is still great wonderful music to be appreciated. The appeal will probably be towards more classic prog fans, because it combines the layers of sound and haunting instrumentation of space rock with more mainstream lyrical attributes like those found in crossover and some symphonic and eclectic bands. It is by all means worth checking out, since it is for free on Rain's website, though some listeners may be dissapointed, even though there are wonderful pieces to be found on the album.

The concept can feel a bit choppy sometimes, since each track begins in a similar way, with Rick describing the new American city he has come across, ending each letter with "Wish You Were Here". However, the music starts up well enough in each track, some better than others. Sometimes the intros are a bit cheesy, like in the beginning of "Lights and Magic", telling about a director in Hollywood trying to lure the narrator to be an extra in one of his films. Most of the time though, the tracks begin spectacularly, and the music matches well too. There is a soft orchestral backing of "Parsifal", about New York, with an excellent saxophone on top of the rest of the music. "Jerusalem" has a spectacular build, and ends up with a sound similar to the crossover acts like Peter Gabriel. Those who have listened to the album will also note the wonderful though sad ending "Cerulean Blue", about the end of the narrator's journey on top of Mt. McKinley in Alaska.

Of course, there are a couple problems with the album. It doesn't really flow all together, as tracks are pretty separate musically, and though this shouldn't be a problem, songs don't seem to fit together sometimes. Also a lot of the tracks are horribly drawn out and extended beyond what they should, with the tracks averaging around 7 minutes in length with their only sound a couple ideas and repeated orchestral or instrumental themes.

Of course, this is still a really good album to check out. Fans of softer prog should definetely enjoy it. Those who like more energetic, technical, or heavier music may want to stay away, though they should keep an open mind. In any event, there is no reason why one shouldn't give at least one listen to it, as the musicianship, lyrics, and composition are excellent. After all, it is for free.

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 Cerulean Blue by RAIN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.59 | 51 ratings

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Cerulean Blue
Rain Symphonic Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

4 stars Cerulean Blue is one of those albums that you always wanted to write a review about... Quite strangely, I first listened to their songs on a prog radio (!) which caught my attention instantly. The story refers to a journey of a man discovering himself, but you really need to listen to the album carefully to understand the whole concept... I couldn't until recently.

I can find a lot of negative arguments for this album: 'the music is too simple to be prog', 'a lot of time is wasted in narrations and not music', 'there are not many tempo changes', 'dull', 'melancholic' and many other relevant... While lots of these might be true, the beautiful atmosphere counter-balances them all. Each track is based on an initial narration (describing the man's journey) which 'visualises' the story. In addition, a constant slow pace is maintained throughout the record, borrowing elements from 90's symphonic prog. Choirs, sax, violins and cellos are used in such a way to contribute to this 'magical' and 'eccentric' sound, built on 'soundtrack-like' melodies; indeed, you could easily feel like watching a movie.

The tracks are relatively long (8 min average), building on the initial melodies and evolving on the same tempo. The only direct influences I could notice on the music are from 80's and 90's Pink Floyd albums, primarily on the vocals section and the sad, melancholic melodies. My favourite track is Parsifal, with its enchantic choirs and the subsequent acoustic guitar break while the few 'latin' influences on Starcrossed don't alter the overall character of the album.

Concluding, this is a pretty well-worked and composed album, with straightforward orchestrations and arrangements, mainly based on non-sophisticated melodies built on clean acoustic guitars and keyboards. 'This does not really sound prog and innovative enough', one might argue, but surprisingly this is the something different a prog fan might be looking for in his music. This definitely works for me... I will be interested to see how RAIN's next album will sound like.

Progressive in its simplicity? Well, I leave it to you to find out...

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 Cerulean Blue by RAIN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.59 | 51 ratings

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Cerulean Blue
Rain Symphonic Prog

Review by Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Beautiful

Rain came out of nowhere with his debut release, Cerulean Blue in 2004. This multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and television director is a fairly mysterious figure being that his website really doesn't offer much information on him. That's not really what matters though - how does the music sound is what all we proggers are thinking about. Well, Cerulean Blue is a gorgeous effort by this man - and one of those kind of albums that can really be called ''an experience'' instead of just ''an album''. The soundtrack-like music, the haunting spoken word intros to the songs, the chorus of sad voices - these all add up to something that calls you back for more and more and can really get your emotions going after a couple of listens.

If we're talking about what it sounds like, the music is kind of hard to describe. A comparison that comes to mind is like a dark Moody Blues in terms of storytelling (the 60s version) meets Phideaux-like orchestration. As stated before, every song starts with a spoken word intro and launches into the actual song. These spoken word parts could have royally messed up the album but really wind up lending to it well. The chilling story-teller's voice reads letters aloud and makes comments on them. They tell some very sad stories, and combined with the melancholic choice of chords make for a very emotional album.

Like many prog albums, this one is more of an album-album. No songs really stand out on top of one another here, and they all work in tandem while being their own entities. The opening The Lammas Lands is a very soothing (yet still sad song) with one singer and a multitude of instruments while Parsifal has an almost church-like feel to it with a chorus of voices taking over for the majority of the song. The narrator sets up the mood once more, ''playing the fool to the wounded king...'' and the music comes in once more to enforce that. Vocals come in and turn the song into a thing of beauty. The Silver Apples Of The Moon is another very sad song as is Light and Magic, a song which is likely fueled by 'Rain's day-job (the television and film industry). The twist at the end of the album (story wise) is yet another heart-wrencher with the title track ending the album majestically.

The entire thing is very sad. Sad voices, sad chords, sad narration - and yet the album is so vastly enjoyable without becoming downer. Strange how that works, really. Oddly enough, the beauty of the album really takes over and none of the melancholy sinks in until the very end of the album. No one can call this album robotic or shallow, that's for sure.

This album is going to get what it deserves - 4 stars out of 5. A wonderful, amazing album that works on so many levels with the listener's emotion. Recommended for all, but people who are into heavier (more metal) music may feel left out of the experience. Still, it's worth a shot. This one is another one that's for free on the artist's website. A lot of those have been let downs when it comes to quality, but this one really is not. Everyone should at least check this album out since the price it right - you won't soon be forgetting it.

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 Cerulean Blue by RAIN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.59 | 51 ratings

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Cerulean Blue
Rain Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars Rain, hmm Strange name for a musician but I guess it's more a moniker than anything. That is pretty progressive, no? emm...No. But the man is certainly talented, a multi-instrumentalist who can also sing with a highly pleasant voice. So let us move onto the music, as the story seems pretty obscure to me, lots of philosophizing about the human condition, as each piece is introduced by some spoken word references ("Wish You Were Here, Rick"). A jet plane comes screaming in for a landing, you almost expect the first bars of the Beatles "Back in the USSR" but instead, a soft cello/violin/viola lament ushers in the postcard saga involving the travels through America of a dude called Rick and realizing that it's a land of extremes and paradoxes, just like anywhere really, including Eden or Shangri-La when you come to think of it! Piano and atmospherics provide the backdrop for some sad observations on "The Lammas Lands", a teeming Floydian exercise that weaves, soars, ebbs and flows, inexorably growing in exalted fervor, leading to "the Promised Land". "Parsifal" suggests the furious extravagance of New York, the moody saxophone making its sexy appearance, partnered by a massed choir that elevates this to Empire heights, gushing with obvious melancholia, until Rain unleashes a vibrant lead vocal that initiates some immediate goose bumps, especially when the sax underscores the pain with some spirited wailing, then twining with the majestic choir again. Very tasty indeed. "Starcrossed" has some accordion, sounding almost a little folksy, with a hint of psychedelia, only thing missing is a sitar in the background but Rain prefers acoustic guitar and marching drums, relating to a trip to the now "Promised Kingdom". Corny, in my opinion, where is Rick? Lost in Iowa? Not my cup of coffee. Thankfully, the next track "The Silver Apples of the Moon" infuses more Pink Floyd innuendo (together with another "Wish You Were Here, Rick") but plods on without any true explosion even though the mood gets kind a heavy briefly (a ripping guitar solo would have been welcome (to the Machine?). Something is missing here but it is pleasant nevertheless. The following almost 11 minute "Light & Magic" is too lengthy, with little contrast or attention grabbing hooks with subject matter being the crass Hollywoodian dream machine, a long central vocal theme atop a haunting choir mellotron splashed all over the musical "silver screen", slowly spiraling towards a crescendo, with some nifty final action sequence from a suave saxophone and finally, again missing a guitar solo that would of made this so much better. . "Jerusalem" sounds almost like a Roger Waters outtake, verging on plagiarism but with more choir sonics (with a title like that, what would you expect?) attempting to provide the lead vocal with a platform to convince. The lack of dynamism is glaring, good music gone linear, dousing whatever spark that might ignite the senses. The title track "Cerulean Blue" (a beautiful color) is an Alaskan mournful goodbye, "the crows are in the cornfield" Rick says... I agree, while there are a lot of positives with this release, I cannot help feeling that it could have been so much more rewarding. When I first heard it, I was left with a feeling of mysterious lack, like Chinese cuisine and being hungry 30 minutes later. Disappointment looms sadly, just like the despondent Rick, as he delves deeper into the American Dream, which is how I feel about this odd release (or lack of...) I guess prog can be a land of extremes and paradoxes also. 3 slushy drops.

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 Cerulean Blue by RAIN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.59 | 51 ratings

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Cerulean Blue
Rain Symphonic Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

3 stars An impressive debut of melancholic and beautiful music supporting the story of a man's journey in search of enlightenment.

Yes, it's a cliche, but it works because of the story's twist, which I will not spoil. The music is truly beautiful, as RAIN uses elements of symphonic prog such as organs, chamber orchestras and choirs to suggest the journey. A judicious choice of sound effects at the start of each song helps us orient ourselves to the geography of the record.

So, the story. Rick is travelling America, reporting his discoveries on the back of postcards, which the narrator (Mr Jaeger) reads and comments upon, reflecting on the 'rank underbelly of the American dream'. We go to Hollywood at one point ('Light and Magic', a thinly veiled reference to George Lucas). No explanation is offered for the particular places Rick visits, not why he ends up on Mt McKinley in Alaska ... but I won't say any more about how the album ends.

The overall effect is subtle. There's no bludgeoning the listener over the head with music or lyrics. Unfortunately the compositions, while interesting at certainly atmospheric, are too lightweight to support the concept. I do listen to the album occasionally, but nothing on this leaves you humming afterwards. One also gets the feeling that the incessant TV fx running behind the narrator's voice is nothing but an artifice to create a FLOYDIAN atmosphere. Certainly at times RAIN injects deliberate ROGER WATERISMS into his vocal delivery.

There's a great deal of promise in this debut. I can only hope RAIN gives us something that builds on this interesting start.

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