A little while back (maybe a week ago?), we took a long while to admire what I believe to be one of the best albums to release in 2018 - Freedom by Amen Dunes. There’s plenty of navel gazing at why and how certain albums are better than others - especially in the world of online media writing (understatement) - and can become slightly self indulgent and gratuitous. Hopefully it doesn’t seem that way when it happens on our site, but who knows? To each their own.
Nevertheless, I’m going to preface this live recap with yet another lede which revolves around one of my favorite albums to release this year, It’s A New Day Tonight by Michael Rault.
Imagine if Kevin Parker, Sgt. Pepper’s era Beatles, and The Budos Band came together and generated the ideal offspring from their trinity. It might sound a little peculiar, or not at all, who knows, but either way, if you take aspects of those three and put them in a pot, not only will you have a stew (Arrested Development reference?), but you’ll also have It’s A New Day Tonight.
The album has some strong psychedelic veins, along with the jangle rock aesthetic that many come to expect in most indie music, but minus the pretension that sometimes coincides with such a sound. In fact, Rault and his band are about as pretenseless as a band can get, at least in terms of live show goes. While they were the headlining band for their evening at The Basement, they spared their audience (which was oddly over-bro’d, or in other words, there were a lot of “bros” there, not sure if that’s Rault’s audience or not, but ultimately, if they dig the music too, that’s all that matters) the general rambling that many bands headlining a bill tend to apportion for themselves.
Instead, most indulgences within the set were reserved for some truly gnarly guitar breaks and instrumental breakdowns in general. Rault is a shredder of the most tasteful ilk, showing off his chops more than a few times throughout the set, but in a manner of which would benefit the song rather than gratuitous stringed ego stroking. Songs like “Out of the Light” and “When the Sun Shines” are strong on the record, but live, my goodness, there are some breakdowns and riffs that will keep any onlooker turned on and tuned into the set. Rault manages to make a twelve string guitar more of a tactile instrument than most, as it’s not often you someone breaking off a couple of riffs here and there on a twelve stringer.
Rault and his band of Canadian minstrels are some truly gifted players, not in the Nashville sense, but rather, just the natural sense. Everyone from rhythm to melody sections manages to find their own unique style and swagger that translates into a magnificently convergence of sound and spirit both live and on the record. Rault is a solid front man, too. Not overselling on panache, but also avoiding the “I don’t want to be here” vibe that sometimes happens when a penchant for showboating is absent. Overall, yet another great live show that helps further sell the excellence of the album the band in question is touring in support of. If you haven’t yet, for all that is good in the world, listen to It’s A New Day Tonight.