Review Summary: An excellent musical overview of late Sixties, early Seventies psychedelic/progressive folk.
They like their psychedelia/progressive rock over in Vancouver. All those psychedelic/pop licks of The New Pornographers, and one of their predecessors, Zumpano, and more recently Grateful Dead inspired Ponytails. And then there’s a guy from Vancouver that, judging by his posts on Facebook, seems to be a living encyclopedia of psych-folk and progressive folk. No wonder then that Blue Rain, his self-produced debut album sounds exactly like one, particularly the British side of things.
Syd Barret, Nick Drake, Incredible String Band, Moody Blues and quite a few others seem to be completely set in Heuchert’s musical subconsciousness. But, his songwriting and arrangements are better for it. Heuchert seems to have absorbed the sounds he loves completely and that he has made a seamless flowing whole out of them. From the moment the Nick Drake inflected title song opens the album it is obvious where Heuchert is coming from - he’s dreaming (actually, three songs here have dream in their title, and they are among the standouts) of those late Sixties times when psychedelia is turning into progressive music and all the disparate musical elements were able to find their rightful place.
Heuchert’s arrangements work, particularly on “The Girl of Your Dreams (shades of Incredible String Band) or Moody Blues inspired mellotron sounds of “Maoershan” or the simple acoustic “Someday”, that could be a perfect fit for one of those two Syd Barrett albums. Although there’s not much wrong with his production, he could have used some help on recording and producing the drums on a few tracks, like “Rainfall” and “Ode to the Sun”, each of which still has merits that do not really bring them down - “Rainfall” has a great melody reminiscent of those by former XTC stalwart Colin Moulding and “Ode to the Sun” rises above the clunky drumming with its brass and organ arrangement.
Heuchert first issued this album in 2014 and unfortunately, it did not register much, so he decided to reissue it, adding the medley “Mirror of Dreams - Nightbreak”, which actually exemplifies all the good music elements he has in himself. Hopefully, this time around, at least psych/prog/folk fans should take more notice.