Introducing: Rainbow Down
Another day, another immense talent emerges from the Nottingham scene. One artist you might want to check out this year is the ambitious Rainbow Down. The name says it all – it’s a pretty extreme antithesis of pure dance pop and industrial dirges; it’s safe to say that, for the most part however, Rainbow Down leans towards the darker side of electronica. Imagine a more radio-friendly Marilyn Manson or a less radio-friendly Pet Shop Boys and you are almost there.
What is most endearing about the music is that every song has a moment when it just clicks. To begin with, it might not strike you down but once his choruses strike a few times, they are hard to forget. Rainbow Down has a keen eye for a hook and they’re hard to ignore. There are also moments of shock in his tunes. The deep distortion in ‘Wall’ or the eerie introduction of ‘Masters’ bring the atmosphere in an entirely different, unexpected direction – keeping you on your toes is one of this guy’s main charms and skills.
His deep, emotive vocals and harsh beats that alter between combative duels to dancefloor-ready segues are never as prominent as on ‘Demons’, a tune which exemplifies the passion he brings to his music and the conviction with which he delivers his lyrics – an aspect that is emphasized even more so on the live scene. ‘Bring Back The Fire’ in particular is one of the most addictive DIY tunes you are going to find on soundcloud – it descends into one of the most desperate, emotional pleas this side of Robyn’s heartbroken danceathons. The instrumental post-chorus of ‘Hourglass’ channels The Birthday Massacre with it’s video-game styling and an optimism that is at odds with the sentiment evoked by the vocals, particularly the spoken outro which is fuelled with intensity.
Fans of Nine Inch Nails will find a lot to devour in Rainbow Down, as will followers of the aforementioned Mechanical Animals era Marilyn Manson and The Birthday Massacre. This may be pop, but his self-confessed ‘Gloom Pop’ steers well clear of the predictable metaphors, the endless repetition of ‘baby’ and an overdose of autotune. Bringing a plethora of harder influences, he produces some undeniably slick tunes that merge bubblegum pop with downright filthy beats and vocal performances that could only derive from a teenage goth phase.
Rainbow Down tackles a difficult genre and pulls it off with apparent ease – his songwriting talents are immense and enviable and he conjures beats and hooks that are ingeniously euphoric. Most importantly, though, he takes expectations and shatters them at every turn – and that is the reason he is a relevant, modern artist that is worth a listen.
Words: Simon McMurdo