There can be a fine line at the point where country and Americana music merge into a straightforward mainstream rock sound. Belfast based band The Rising have demonstrated knowing its precise location and suitably positioned their album to pitch to listeners from those genres rather than the minefield of bland radio fodder. Make no mistake COMING HOME is a belt and braces rock album full of crashing guitars, riffs and solos but it also toys with some of the sounds emanating from Nashville’s stadium crop and the more indie elements that fuel the alt country music scene.
The intention behind this release was to adopt a more roots rock stance leading to guitarist Chris Logan adding banjo and mandolin to his armoury, although their influence can be a touch tricky to detect. What are undeniable are the raw passion, energy and integrity that exists within the ten songs that race along at a breathless pace. The Rising are effectively a slimmed down version of a deceased band formerly known as Exit with vocalist Tristan Harris and bassist Andy Morgan joining Logan to complete the trio.
The band hasn’t lost the knack of pursuing airplay with a rousing chorus attaching itself to the lead off track ‘Calling You’. However there are more substantial moments on the album such as the angry vocals bringing ‘Break the Chains’ to life and the more melodic ‘City by the Sea’. Although the stand out track ‘Highway to the Lost and Found’ possesses all the drive and emotion of new wave with more than a passing resemblance to Jason and the Scorchers firing on all cylinders.
The Nashville effect is in evidence on the track ‘Still Coming Home to You’ which is very much in the same vein sound wise as Keith Urban. As Music City was one of the recording locations alongside Los Angeles and Belfast, this is unsurprising but probably a result of working with Grammy Award winning engineer Hank Williams who numbers Urban amongst his clients. The press release is quick to namecheck Springsteen but there are definite traces of late 80s U2 in the backbeat to ‘Dreaming & Scheming’.
The final four tracks on the album never quite reach the same heights as the opening half a dozen as they occasionally wander into classic rock territory and some of the raw energy is lost. ‘Shadows on the Wall’ is probably the pick of this segment as the album switches to stadium and festival mode with the finale of ‘Return to the Moon’ especially skirting epic status.
COMING HOME by The Rising is a record that appears to have accomplished its objectives in the making. The challenge is now to engage the music listening public whose tastes are ready to savour this brand of rock music. Many from the country, roots and Americana genre who are ready to push boundaries in their listening habits will find merit in the release whether they seek a straightforward guitar bashing sound or something with a little more edge.