Review Summary: Wait, haven't I heard this before?
I love me some Good Old War. Their Simon and Garfunkel sound is peaceful, fun, and something my friends and I reminisce over. But just as my friends and I have done over our lives, sometimes it’s time to turn the page and evolve. Sometimes it’s time to try something new. The core of man’s spirit comes from new experiences but I don’t think anyone told this to Good Old War. Their new release Come Back as Rain excited me with its beautiful cover art but after a few listens left me feeling that I’ve already experienced it. “Over and Over” starts off great for the first oh, five seconds with its banging percussion and I thought albeit briefly that this album was going to be left on repeat during long summer road trips that have become the corner stone of my friendships. But alas I’ll still be spinning Only Way To Be Alone and self titled.
I had the opportunity to see Good Old War in a live setting and I felt like I was hearing their songs for the first time. They utilized all sorts of percussion and a piano on stage. Seeing them live definitely built up a lot of hype for this release, at least for me. I was looking forward to a fuller sound that captured their live energy and defined a band turning the corner. Well I guess there’s always the next album because this is mostly the Good Old War I’ve loved for the past three years. It’s just that with a new album usually comes new music. I guess someone forgot to tell Good Old War that too.
While the first two tracks start the record off strong I am left with the overwhelming impression that I’ve already heard them. The harmonized vocals are there, the twangy finger- picked acoustic guitar is present, and I can even envision their Charlie Kelly look alike lead singer humming his rhymes as I always have. But what is wrong with that? Well, I guess nothing if you are content with hearing redundancy or if this is your first taste of the Philadelphia trio. But for myself, a seasoned veteran with their albums on vinyl, I was expecting more.
Progression isn’t always a good thing and maybe it’s not the preferred cup of tea for these gentlemen. Maybe they are content with being most recognized as Anthony Green’s backup band. Okay, that was harsh. But after the progression Green showed with his new solo album Beautiful Things Good Old War should really take a feather from his cap while following him around on tour. Including him in some of their songs would be a good start. “Weak Man” was the song that originally hooked me to this band and after hearing “Loud Love” I speak for many when I’d rather hear Green singing about sex in a tree instead of their drummer.
After watching Good Old War create two fantastic albums I feel like an old man sitting with his son while I describe my feelings for this album. I’m not mad I’m just disappointed. I know they can do better. They have the potential to make great music but are only dabbling with mediocrity. With their next album I really want to hear what it sounds like to come back as rain because this is far from a musical reincarnation.