Have you ever considered leaving your city behind and moving to a mountain range in California? Well, MVI did it and they wrote an album about it. In The Rain Shadow is a cocktail of different influences that come together into a cohesive whole that shows a love and respect for his environment and a deep understanding of the instruments and styles used to create it.
High Desert, the first track, captures excitement with its quick guitars, staccato violin, and subtle drums. For me, this feels like discovering something new, which matches its position on the album. You can almost hear everyone exploring the crevices of the mountains that surround them. This song is a clever introduction to the environment as it immediately centres the album on nature as a core aspect.
As the next track, titled The Gorge, begins, that excitement transforms into awe, as communicated by the achingly gorgeous electric guitar. It does a great job of leading the melody without taking over the composition entirely, allowing space for the other aspects of the track to breathe. This balance showcases the musical maturity of the collective and the chemistry between them.
As I mentioned earlier, all of the tracks communicate a level of respect for the natural world. This respect is palpable in the way the songs are arranged. Despite the first tracks being energetic and loud, they never feel overwhelming or stray from the central melodic idea. I think that consistency relates a sense of honesty through their music and underpins their connection to the natural world via their ties to the sonic components of each track.
Stillness (for Will) and Rupak (for Ty) have different paces from the other tracks on the album, communicating a slower, melancholic energy. The songs also use a generally lower register than some of the other pieces. This change of pace shows off the album's diversity and I think those two tracks thrive in that contrast because it emphasises the stylings that make them so unique on the album.
Cloud Shadows is my favourite track on the album. It does an excellent job of capturing the natural power of a storm through fast, rhythmic drumming and heavy strumming on the guitar. The track simulates the ebb and flow of a storm, following the lulls and the thunder and lightning beautifully. Being in a storm surrounded by mountains is quite an experience and this track does a great job of communicating it.
Tying the album together, the titular track, In The Rain Shadow brings to light the beauty in nature at the core of this album’s identity. This collection has really impressed me with its ability to communicate feelings without words so adeptly. Through this last track and the album as a whole, it feels as if MVI has a cohesive idea of who they are and the energy they’re trying to get across. That conviction of their message is what makes this album so compelling.