More scrumptious music by Lainey Schooltree that firmly nails her and her new band like a story house into a sprawling castle. ‘Rise’ is officially Schooltree’s debut but Lainey put out a solo called “My Metal Mother” ( see my review last year ) which I raved about. In fact a couple of songs off that private solo are redone on this one (‘Foreverish’ and ‘After You’re Gone’). It’s wonderful to hear them with full band and slight mods. This one is just as stunning and on the nine tunes, has a full band consisting of Jordan Ross on drums, Brendan Burns on guitar, and Derek Van Wormer on bass. Lainey does all the vocals and piano.
I still give strong references to Kate Bush, Happy Rhodes, Jane Siberry, and add Amy Neuberg and the classic Laura Nyro. All in all, Lainey has her own stamp and an incredible sense of all aspects of music, from basic structure to finished master. Her arrangement skills are regal. Her composition smarts are sorely beautiful. Schooltree move from art pop to symphonic rock, to haunting ballad to unforgettable music all over. This is totally impressive and much of the time jaw dropping.
A bonanza of beauty and dripping compositions, one after another. The first song ‘Six Feet Up’ let’s you know just how fantastic this CD is with an intro to praise and love. Tracks two and three are the remakes off her solo and are brilliant! ‘Heavenside’ (track 4) is beyond ethereal. Directly after ‘Today’ (track 5) is a happy go lucky theatrical ditty with a cabaret spin, silky interludes and ear to ear smiling harmonies. A brilliant tune in the center of things. ‘Let’s Dance’
is dreamy ( her trademark) with it’s floating angelic structure and ghost chorus. What a gorgeous cut.
Great use of vocoder on the title track ‘Rise’ which keeps that spacey dream-like atmosphere. ‘Everyman’ ( track 8) was a free download offered the time of her “My Metal Mother” as a single. It’s the most rocking gem that will fill the lust of all the Happy Rhodes/Kate Bush fans who miss the earlier years of those stunning progressive artists. The last tune is a collage of some of the songs and sounds like a beautiful fall through a giant rainbow. So many colors and a weightlessness that makes you feel rejuvenated. It has the magic of Ryuichi Sakamoto, a lush hammock of piano, vocal harmonies, tasteful guitar and whirling dervish.
There’s not much left to say about how great this disc is. I could empty the dictionary of adjectives but just one listen and that’s all you need. Lainey Schooltree is a remarkable artist and her perfection is your reward. This is surely one of the best recordings of 2013 on my list. Totally and highly recommended!!!
Reviewed by Lee Henderson on March 24th, 2013