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Adrian Borland - Last Days Of The Rain Machine review (Smilin' Ears 6-2-2001)

date: Feb 6, 2001



This material and the impetus behind the release comes from Carlo van Putten, the musician with whom Adrian worked on his last project "White Rose Transmission". The CD is released, with the permission of Adrian's mother, by Rients Bootsma, the webmaster of the The Sound/Adrian Borland website Brittle Heaven ( and can only be obtained via the website. Clearly this release is therefore especially for 'die-hard' fans, but contains brilliant material consisting of acoustic songs with Adrian's unmistakable vocals, recorded in Carlo's flat in London.

Due to the nature of the acoustic approach (using only vocals and guitar) the material sounds, especially at first, a little similar, but after repeated listens the songs reveal themselves as being very beautiful and varied. Try-outs for new songs, but also demo's of more familiar, recent work there are seventeen wonderful tracks in brilliant, pure performances: "Wild Rain", "Dead Guitars", "Walking In The Opposite Direction", "Four Lonely Hours Away", "Hallucinating you" and "Snakebitten" from the last White Rose Transmission CD "700 Miles Of Desert". This last mentioned CD was originally going to carry the title now used for this album. Some of the songs strongly recall Adrian's solo albums, but played in an intriguing, compelling acoustic style. In addition there are echoes of the earlier work of The Sound, as on the gloomy Winter, from the second side of Shock Of Daylight. Dark, serious, unmistakably The Sound, unmistakably Adrian Borland. Beautiful, soft, like a sound penetrating from afar through a thick veil.

At the end of the CD there are even some songs which were recorded in Carlo's garden, accompanied by the sound of birds singing. These are (to me) the most intriguing tracks, songs such as "Love Is Such A Foreign Land" (recalling The Sound's "Hand Of Love"), "Weekender Berliners", "Downtown" ('I'm married to the street, junkies with purple hair, waiting for buses that go nowhere') and "Tired Man". This is not an album for the masses who ignored Adrian when he pursued his solo-career after the end of The Sound era. People who want to catch up with that should buy the re-released, magnificient Sound albums, From The Lion's Mouth, In The Hothouse or, the album released at the time of Adrian's tragic death, "Propaganda". Also Adrian's solo-work, the inimitable Alexandria, "Brittle Heaven" or "5:00 AM". The hard-core fans will order "Rain Machine" and play it many times, as did the writer, with a tear in their hearts.

Adrian could have given us so much more wonderful music. Beautiful black & white pictures of Adrian, alone or with his guitar, are included in the booklet and complete the package wonderfully. Adrian, I hope you rest in a happier place now.

Marcel Strijbos translated by Rients Bootsma

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