- Shadow of a Rose
- Dancing with Daggers
- Nowhere Street
- Raking Dust
- Somber Air
- King of Beggars
- Waltzing Ghost
- End of the Light
All I needed was the rain
It’s raining again. After the EP “A murder of crows”(2011) and début album “Elegy” (2012), the sun has gone, but Epic Rain brings a rainbow in the “Somber Air”.
The crew, Jóhannes Birgir Pálmason a.k.a. Joey, Stefán Ólafsson, Bragi Eiríkur Jóhannsson, Guðmundur Helgi Rósuson, plus a group of session players, released their 2nd album on the Lucky Records label. It is the first release of the record store annex label. The music of Epic Rain found its roots in the underground hip-hop scene, but some years later country, blues, jazz and even folk were explored.
Epic Rain’s core is one DJ and two MCs. The DJ plays jazzy, swinging hip-hop music, and adds beats and scratches. Wordsmith Joey of Lebanese descent brings visual, literate lyrics and tries to paint a picture in rhymes with each song. The listener get sucked into the downtempo flow of his cinematic pieces of art. His paintings show the beautiful, bleak reality of the protagonists. On the other hand singer Bragi is dressed and painted as a cabaret clown. The Pierrot Lunaire crooner works in harmony with the storytelling rapper and the beatmaker.
Opening track “Shadow of a Rose” is a song about turning your back to the city life and embrace the never-ending dirty road. The French Jack The Ripper is waltzing in “Dancing with Daggers”, a tune influenced by a dark back alley in Paris. Have the Prozac ready when you enter “Nowhere Street”, a gloomy song about depression and being stuck at the same place. “Raking Dust” tells the story of a vicious romance. Title track “Somber Air” has a French introduction. An old man is the “King of Beggars”. In the melancholic song “Waltzing Ghost” time is running out. “End of the Light” is about the connection between totally different people.
This album brings in mind the duo Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht, and Gavin Bryars’ “Jesus’ blood never failed me yet”, especially in “King of Beggars”. The music is of course reminiscent of Tom Waits, referring to “Waltzing Matilda” in the second last song. If Nick Cave will make a hip-hop album, Epic Rain will be his guiding light.
– Wim Van Hooste