By: Nathan Esquite
Good Old War’s third effort, Come Back As Rain, is a vast melodic and harmonious indie-folk soundscape. The boys in Good Old War have a gift for keeping their songs minimalistic and simple, yet still dense and exciting. Their mellifluous three-part harmonies and sweetly finger picked guitar lines paint the “driving out to your cabin in the countryside” aesthetic for Come Back As Rain. A large part of the beauty in this album is the dichotomy they have created between their upbeat sweet folk-pop hooks and their lyrical tales of woe and heartbreak.
“Over and Over” opens the album strong and accentuates all of these crucial elements. Right off the bat you’re greeted with, “This is the last time/this time I know I’m done/I have a purpose/that’s what I tell myself,” putting to front the central themes of the album: a relationship turned bitter and trying to find your purpose in the aftermath. However, just as much as they sing about heartbreak, they line the album with a sense of hope, such as in “Better Weather.”
Good Old War reportedly recorded 30 songs in the studio with producer and engineer Jason Cupp before taking the 11 tracks they felt were the cream of the crop. As impressive as a feat that is in itself, I also feel that hurt the album the most. Lyrically it flows beautifully from song to song, telling a tale that comes full circle in the last track, “Present for the End of the World,” but I feel as though the album has trouble standing as a whole. Every song works well individually but listening front to back, it feels jagged and more akin to a “Best Of” collection than it does to a single collective of tracks composed for a single album. Regardless, Come Back As Rain is a wonderful masterpiece reminiscent to the likes of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and is sure to place Good Old War amongst the top players in the new wave of folk such as Mumford and Sons, The Civil Wars, and Fleet Foxes.
Standout tracks: Over and Over, Calling Me Names, Better Weather, Not Quite Happiness, and Present for the End of the World.