I love an album that tells a story and that’s exactly what Max Sokolinski does with his debut album ‘Before the Rain Stops’. It’s hushed acoustic guitars and vocals are often part of a larger soundscape that captivates the mind.
Each track starts or ends with a return to rain. It’s used almost like white noise as you tune into each track. It works beautifully for the albums dynamic as each instrument is recorded softly and has a fluffy DIY feel to it. The acoustic guitar on the opener ‘Feels Like’ is like a zooped up bedroom recording but it really sells this sonic painting of having each moment made during the rain.
It’s generally the acoustic soft rock tracks that I gelled with most. The swaying ‘Lonely Times’ is akin to a gentle floating ship with how its played. ‘Burning Your Letters’ is an excellent acoustic rock track too. The album hits its peak with the breathy and hushed folk-rock of ‘The Only One’. It’s a duet with JFDR and her voice is the perfect accompaniment to Max’s low timbre. She is fragile and melodic and the simple thin strings behind them is inspired.
The second half of the album sees Max Sokolinski start to move away from his soft rock roots into more of an electric rock nature. ‘Care For Me’ is a well put together bossa nova track that is thankfully missing the cheesy jazzy elements. ‘You’re Alive’ is the token track that breaks away from the softly, hushed approach as instruments start to veer off tune. The track starts out gentile but over its duration moves towards something more sinister and I really liked its approach. By the time ‘Betty Blue’ comes to an end with its water guitar solo, the rain is gone and the album ends cleanly.
Max Sokolinski does a lot with a certain sound palette and a hushed voice that feels muddy on purpose. I can see fans of the Tailtree’s label loving this kind of sound – it feels very French indie! Light and enjoyable.
Recommended track: The Only One Feat JFDR
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