Review: The Rainy Day Apparel, “Reset”

Rainy Day Apparel

Several weeks ago, an enterprising young artist reached out to us with a request to review a new EP – unfortunately, because things like life and the holidays happened, that review is only now being posted.  Nathan, this one is for you, with apologies for the delay.

The Rainy Day Apparel has been making music in and around Carman, MB, in one form or another since 2002, but only recently have they begun promoting themselves more actively.  (Although Nathan Ess is the primary performer and songwriter behind The Rainy Day Apparel, he makes it clear that even solo music takes a village.)  Behold, then, the recent EP “Reset” – a delightful collection of five songs that ring with catchy melodies and heartfelt lyrics.

The EP opens with “Matches,” exploring that tension between leaving (and/or running) and being drawn back: “I picked a wonderful time to run / I guess that saying really holds some truth / You can’t run from your demons / But you can light a fire; and they’re no match for you.” “Drag” begins with a slow-tempo, bluesy riff, and evolves into what (to these ears, anyway) has a strong 1970s vibe, full of echoing harmonies and thoughtful musings about relationships that perhaps go on much longer than they should.

If I had to choose a favorite tune on the EP, it would be “Thaw Me Out,” a lovely exploration not only of that late winter feeling (that one will never escape the cold) but also the late winter sensation that every relationship goes through at some point, that sense of grey cold before spring returns.

My response to the title track (which appears fourth on the EP) no doubt is my reading back into the lyrics from my own experience, but nevertheless, the lyrics strongly remind me of the old Benedictine principle that ‘always, we begin again’ – “Start again; Start again / I’m hoping for just one more day / As I wish today away.”  Life requires hundreds, if not thousands, of these resets, and Nathan captures that beautifully with this song.

“Why Would I” offers the EP a strong finish with a reflection on a feeling we all have at some point: the inadequacy of being the beloved.  Nathan depicts that uncertainty with pinpoint accuracy here.

As always when I hear an EP, this project leaves me craving more.  I look forward to hearing what else Nathan has in his tunebox; I’d also love to hear him play a bit with tempo and variety of instrumentation in his arrangements, as I think a full-length project (which I absolutely hope is in his near future) would benefit from some contrast of sound.  If you are in or near Carman, MB, and get the chance to hear The Rainy Day Apparel live, I encourage you to do so.

Visit The Rainy Day Apparel on Facebook.

Lesley Carter

Exposed to the wonders of CBC and Montréal Canadiens hockey as a teenager thanks to a satellite dish in rural Kansas, I have been an unabashed lover of all things Canadian ever since. I am a lifelong collector of esoteric and varied music, a teacher of piano, and an aspiring multi-instrumentalist (guitar, mandolin, mandola, ukulele). In real life, I work in the field of technology.

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