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๐•ฟ๐–๐–Š ๐•พ๐–”๐–“๐–˜ ๐–”๐–‹ ๐•ฝ๐–†๐–Ž๐–“๐–Ž๐–Š๐–— ๐–—๐–Š๐–™๐–š๐–—๐–“

Updated: Feb 25

With the follow-up to the very good 2018 debut Down In Pancake Valley, The Sons of Rainier return with Take Me Anywhere: another strong statement in their sparse catalog. It's an almost unnaturally natural sounding alt-country album, proving again that the Sons are capable of raising the bar for Pacific NorthWest Yโ€™all-ternative Crunchy Music. As CityArtsMag noted early in their coverage of Pancake Valley, โ€œItโ€™s hard to sound as easy as The Sons of Rainier.โ€

The often gritty and anarchic ethos that runs in the veins of too many important PNW region musical acts to list is very much present in the Sons.

Take Me Anywhere opens musically much the same way Down In Pancake Valley did with โ€œWaaaay out on the Payette Riverโ€; โ€œOrionโ€ also finds a similar elongated croon of โ€œNothing is staaaaableโ€. The Sons are back, baby.

โ€œGet Me Out of Hereโ€ is a pungent number about a looming sense of placelessness and dissatisfaction that can at once be interpreted on the surface of โ€œneeding a vacationโ€, but just underneath, in classic, sad country balladry form, there is despair: โ€œSometimes I cry for no good reason other than being alive.โ€

But the Sons have made it clear that they have a taste for both life's simple pleasures and its finer things. โ€œLike You Do,โ€ for instance, is an ambiguously romantic, up-beat love song detailing a loving relationshipโ€™s dichotomies - as evident by the chorus โ€œYou can lie, itโ€™s O.K./ you can cry, itโ€™s O.K./ but donโ€™t think that you can leave without saying goodbye.โ€ Another genuine love song appearing in the tracklist is the aptly-titled โ€œTrue Love,โ€ with signature vocal drawl heralding the chorus and punctuating the song astutely.

Things take a turn for the gospel-laden on โ€œReach For The Light,โ€ wherein the brushed snare that helped make the first record sound so lovely is given room to shine. This is a great lick that has a nice instrumental portion.

โ€œThe Wrestlerโ€ is another supremely-pleasant listen where Devin Champlin sings about normalized, everyday anguish. The other Sons, Dean Johnson, Charlie Meyer, and Sam Gelbrand provide background โ€œooohsโ€.

Guitar-maker, solo-fiddle musician and Sons bandleader Champlin sings confidently throughout Take Me Anywhere - while Johnson (longtime fixture of Ballardโ€™s alt-country scene) and bassist Meyer and drummer Gelband (both of roots-rock outfit Honcho Poncho) play expertly.

โ€œSummer Shadeโ€ might just be the cheeriest song on the album, if not at-least the most danceable. Itโ€™s an absolute banger, an undeniable stand-out of the fifty-five minutes of Take Me Anywhere.

โ€œFamily and Friendsโ€ ties a nice bow on the record by sending us out on a note of positivity and gratitude: โ€œIโ€™m spilling over with love for my family and my friends.โ€

Before weโ€™ve realized it, nearly an hour has elapsed and weโ€™re able to walk away feeling like weโ€™ve shared a memorable listening experience. At this point, it's not hyperbole to call the Sons of Rainier a PNW supergroup, with just about six years in between releases, itโ€™s safe to say theyโ€™re in it solely for the love of the music. Both full-length outputs are winners, meaning that the Sons of Rainier are two for two.

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