A Psychedelic Stoner Gem 8.5/10

'Waves Ahead of the Ocean' is my first encounter with Oklahoma based band Rainbows Are Free and it's a psychedelic, stoner gem. It's taken me longer than many to get the whole stoner vibe but albums such as this are going to really help me embrace things a whole lot more. If anything by Raging Slab, Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard, Monster Magnet, Down, Pentagram and, of course, early Black Sabbath are on your radar then this sophomore release is going to be an unbridled joy for you. In fact, this is one of the catchiest albums of the genre I've heard and that's mostly down to the fun Rainbows Are Free seem to be having playing every note. I think it's a must to own a vinyl version of this because it's seeped in a 70s’ haze that's difficult to ignore and putting the needle down on the sludgy, fuzzy and doomy grooves contained here is almost guaranteed to freewheel me back to a time when, as an eight year old, I was first discovering the likes of Queen, Blue Cheer, Led Zep and Deep Purple.

Vocalist Brandon Kistler seems to have the perfect mix of singing and screaming in his voice that not only emulates those sunny days of my past but also brings this album smack up to date. And, if you're not sure, just check out the great cover and inside artwork whilst cranking up the fabulously titled opener 'Speed God And The Rise Of The Motherfuckers From A Place Beyond Hell' which crackles with enough intensity to down a cannabis fuelled rhino at fifty paces. Guitarist Richie Tarver has almost a dreamlike quality to his solos but his riffs are heavy as lead. Add to this the loose but awesome rhythm partnership of bassist Chad Hogue and drummer Bobby Onspaugh and this really feels like a band going places. It's not easy picking out highlights but the aforementioned 'Speed God', 'Sonic Demon', 'Cadillac' and 'Burn And Die' are probably my pick of the bunch. I've seen other reviewers picking different songs though, so it's safe to say there is no bad or standout moment on 'Waves Ahead Of The Ocean', it's just a bloody great album all the way through.

Rick Tilley
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