Music Review – Complex by Design

Originally forming over 20 years ago during their school days, the years of close friendship, respect and creative synergy has held RAYNE united together.

Staying true to their desire to deliver stadium sized songs akin to their comparators The Killers, Muse, Coldplay, Imagine Dragons and 30 Seconds To Mars, RAYNE have stood firm with their epic-rock creations and remain unfazed by past and present trends in music industry fashions. Ben Potts along with fellow comrades Adam Dagg (Guitar/Keys) and Steven Naisbet (Drums/Samples) possess a musical formula that has helped build a loyal army of fans and followers through years of gigging, festival appearances and growing support from media around the world. Despite tackling themes such as metal health, terminal illness, love, loss and even conspiracy theories; don’t expect RAYNE to be wallowing with melancholic introspection as each song is emotively uplifting, promoting a sense of optimism to stand strong in the face of life’s personal challenges.

Album Title: Complex by Design

Review

Complex by Design was the first time I’d heard of the band Rayne, and I have to say that there were moments in the music that were quite catchy. With lines in songs such as The Great Burden like “Do you hear my words. Do you think it hurts. You’ve got to get up and fight before they send you away tonight,” there is the potential there for some rousing anthems when the alt-rock feel isn’t spoiled by the introduction of too much techo like near the 2:49 mark of The Great Burden when things go all beat boxish and pulled me out of the song completely. I felt like that really detracted from the flow of the instrumentals leading up to the end. Prior to that, the guitar playing had been driving the tempo and the mood of the song which I’d highly enjoyed.

Complex by Design had a very uptempo feel to it that stretched through all of the songs, and one of the things I enjoyed was that the singer’s voice was enhanced by the music, not drowned out by it. While there was still a bit of a hard, edgy feel to the music, there was never a moment when I felt like it had crossed from the realm of alt-rock into screamo and while I enjoy screamo from time to time, I feel like the messages of the songs get lost when the words cannot be deciphered, which was not the case here.

One thing I think about, while listening to music, is what I would pair the music with if it were something I listened to on a regular basis. For Complex by Design, it is something I would find myself drawn back to listening to, in fact, I could see it being on my gym playlist because the tempos are such as to really get the blood flowing.

While some songs, like The Great Burden, have almost no lead in, others like Opportunity for Progress, set a pace first and establish the mood of the piece before the singing beginnings. There is some storytelling at work in each of the songs. “You are my one and only shoulder, for when I’m getting older, for when I’m lost.” “You and I both are gonna be somebody, we don’t give up, we won’t give up. You and I said we would live forever, knew in our hearts that we should be together…” from Opportunity for Progress was one particular story I enjoyed a great deal, because it took me back to old favorites like Bon Jovi’s “Blood on Blood” and Bruce Springsteen’s “No Retreat No Surrender,” where that message of no matter what, we’re sticking together, this friendship will never die, always rung through loud and clear. This one was easily my favorite song on the album with Love, Live, Learn and Human Imitation typing for second.

Rayne slowed things down a bit with Love, Live, Learn, which was nice to hear, because they really allowed the passion and emotion to shine through in this one. This one is just slow enough to wrap arms around a partner and sway too without ever being too slow as to drag, it almost had a feel of old school power ballad to it which I appreciated. Focused on feelings, dealing with them, how to express them and all the things go along with them, Love, Live, Learn is a very easy song to connect to and addictive. I listened to it several times in a row simply because I enjoyed it that much.

Rating Tag: unexpected, evocative, roller-coaster ride

Rating: 4 overall, quite enjoyable

Track Specific

Chemicals: 3

Dolorous: 3

Human Imitation 4.25

Love, Live, Learn 4.25

Opportunity for Progress: 4.5

Subject A: 3.5

The Great Burden: 3.75

Overall album: 4


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