The Beta Band – Dry The Rain Does what it says on the tin.
The song that was played in Hi-Fidelity by Jack Black’s assistant character in the record shop as a guaranteed seller, I was intrigued to give this a careful listen. I think I may have heard it before, but it just slipped in one ear and out the other, without really catching, no matter how often I played it. That seems to have been the case with many songs for me. If they are not immediately catchy, I rarely invest the time to get to know them. That probably meant the songs I do like are ones that I heard unconsciously over and over until something stuck. When I chose to listen to them, the seed was already planted.
I’m on my third listen to this now. The singer starts off unimpressive, almost sullen, but by the end, is carried along, maybe even roused by the orchestration of many instruments. Particularly good are the bass line and the trumpet – they really give the song much-needed energy. The guitars less so, coming over as almost as downbeat and soggy as the singing. The slide guitar is particularly swampy, which is OK when the beat gets going in the second half, but is part of the morose atmosphere before that. Wooden blocks mark a pause at 1 minute and it perks up somewhat. The drums and bass, when they come in at 2 minutes, straighten things up – invigorating like a vigorous dry down with an abrasive towel. The guitars align themselves more confidently with the beat. The singer increases the volume. And then, for the last two and a half minutes, the trumpet dominates – a blast of warm air to dry the hair.
Maybe that’s the way to think of the song. The band come in out of a particularly manky cold and wet Scottish afternoon and the song is the towel and hairdryer they need to recover.
A few listens and I feel I understand the song a bit more than before. I don’t think I am ever going to love it. It’s too down at heel, particularly the vocals, which necessarily dominate the mood of the song. It’s like it caught a cold which it hasn’t quite shaken off.
But to finish on a positive note, the best of the song is definitely the bassline – I love a good bassline, and this one is big and proud and front and centre in the last part of the song.