Orion  –  The Raft (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

a3599421306_16I always look forward to music coming from Phil Wilson and The Raft and the fact that their work rate is so vibrant means that you never have too long to wait for such musical treats. And why do I look forward to them so much? Well, it is that balance of familiarity and forward thinking, a musical echo of a host of 80’s post-punk adventurers, who were in turn mining a sixties jangle pop heyday but done so in a way that feels like we are striding forward rather than looking back. Maybe it has something to do with the cyclical nature of music, it certainly has a lot to do with the craftsmanship on which the songs are built. I suspect the answer is a bit of both.

If movements such as the west coast Paisley Underground and New Zealand’s Dunedin Sound channelled bands such as Love and The Byrds, as did our own movers and shakers, The Bunnymen and The Soft Boys, then The Raft are merely carrying the same torch through into a new era, and why not, music such as this deserves its longevity. The Raft respect the past, but they don’t want to be stuck there and so their blend of haze and harmony, gentle psychedelia and poppy accessibility, whilst reminding you to give your old Dream Syndicate albums a spin more often, is instead a brave step forward into a new potential pop horizon.

Aren’t we tired of the production line, vacuous, landfill commercial dance-pop that has become successful through marketing dollars and the laziness of the modern pop picker rather than through any artistic merits? So do something about it! Start backing music which marks you out as an individual, music which makes you smile, which delivers hope as well as homage, which feels like it is going somewhere, is leading a renaissance, is willing to play its own game. If any of that seems like something you want to support then bands such as The Raft are you first port of call.

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