Preaching from the Pews: papercranes

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Rain Phoenix is an astounding vocal talent, flanked by a ever evolving cast of musicians and name collaborators her soulful raw tone is the lightening rod at the center of seething propulsive rhythms and glittering psychedlia.

Her second album Make Babies in the Woods comes out in the UK on the 11th July via Manimal Vinyl (Bat For Lashes, Warpaint, Sister Crayon). It’s preceeded by album highlight “Sea Red” that propells itself onwards, through Rain’s emotive vocal storm.

Elsewhere the album is littered with introspection, smatterings of blues, African rhythms and even touches of 90s sound of P J Harvey, Kristin Hersh and Catatonia. Take stripped back pianos and drum loops of opener “Headphones” that cajoles and evokes seperation memories. While naturlistic imagery is a theme that traces through the spine of this longplayer, another highlight is “Shell” that builds from simple strum to rippling percussion, towards full throateded affecting widescreen rock song: a fierce meditation upon crumbling self worth.

Premiered on Dazed Digital, Rain commented, “We were lucky to have the amazing Amanda Demme go full force into making the video for ‘Sea Red’. We went into it with the idea of channelling early 90’s Herb Ritts’s majestic videos for Chris Isaac (Wicked Game) and Madonna (Cherish) with the darker elements and intensity that ‘Sea Red’ has lyrically.

It’s little wonder that Rain’s gaining a name for herself with her intriguing sound. But her famous surname and a heritage in the worlds of rock and film, might make one think of lesser famous siblings but its actually may have allowed her space to grow artistically. Rain Phoenix started performing live at the tender age of three alongside her siblings, River, Joaquin, Liberty and Summer. At six, she was onstage with Crosby, Stills and Nash at The Hollywood Bowl, and at 15 she joined alt rock band, Aleka’s Attic, playing alongside her brother, River. Rain later toured as a backup singer with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and guested on REM’s album Monster, as well as delivering a memorable performance as cowgirl Bonanza Jellybean in Gus Van Sant’s Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.

In 2006, Rain formed papercranes and released her debut album, Vidalia (featuring guest vocals from Angela McCluskey and the late Vic Chestnutt). During the recording of the band’s second album, Let’s Make Babies in the Woods, Rain co-founded the charity known as Gift Horse Project which features a rotating line-up of musical talent including Warpaint’s Emily Kokal, Chris Stills, Joe Sumner, Royston Langdon and Jenny O.

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