Album Reviews

The Rainbow Family – This Is Not A Circular

(Console) UK release date: 4 June 2007


Thankfully, despite their name, The Rainbow Family are not some spectrum-obsessed cult intent on warping your mind to the power of crystal healing and chakra buggery.

Instead they are a smallish, self-contained and musically adept clan comprising Barry Christie and Marco Rea who from their lair in the Scottish Highlands are merely content with warping your mind to the power of kaleidoscopic pop from another dimension. Your chakra will remain unmolested. Although you may smile. You have been warned…

From small beginnings things take on kaleidoscopic proportions to produce a nugget of sunshine for this their debut album on this planet. These are melodies beamed in from another dimension…

The woozy Have What You’ve Got sets out their celestial stall as angelic choirs back up the mantric ramblings of positive hippy vibes to ‘drift away’ ‘please who you want’ and ‘want what you need’ set to sweet music seemingly beamed from a ’60s love camp populated by late-period Beatles.

It could all be teeth-gratingly saccharine were it not for their twinkle-toes approach to melody and sun-kissed harmonies that sprinkle themselves over all the tracks here. I Can See A Rainbow is a ‘kill or cure’ litmus test with its fey, sun-kissed drifting simplicity of not missing the moment either instantly endearing or utterly repellent. For those gripped with passion for nostalgia, car-boot curios or glimmers from a distant golden era this will come as a welcome wind of smile-inducing ‘specialness’.

Like the early works of Air there is a quaint other-worldly, yet familiar, feel to these tracks. There are hints of film soundtrack, kid’s tv themes, audio car-boot exotica, and sci-fi effects lurking in these hypnotic beats and cascading harmonies that tumble down the chords in slow-motion to create a glorious embroidery of sound.

Only on Mr Picture Perfect do they stick to relatively straightforward pop structure that sounds like a day-glo less histrionic version of Mika.

The innocence at play here borders on the childlike (albeit a child prodigy in their scope) of welding unlikely influences together in today’s musical climate. Taking ideas from other decades, other styles of music to create something truly their own is part of the magic of The Rainbow Family.

Sharing a lineage with such musical magpies as Lemon Jelly, DJ Shadow, The Beta Band and consequently the new psychedelia of The Aliens, there is a distinctly unfashionable feel to these pocket symphonies to happiness. Lush strings, bubbling electronica, down-beat love songs, audio exotica, hip-hop beats, 1950s choirs and a monkey on mouth organ…well maybe not the monkey, but you get the idea. Kitchen sink included.

The ethos of the other global hippy ‘non-organisation’ Rainbow Family in the non-music world is of ´┐Żliving lightly’ in a neo-green way, and there is a deftness of touch and sense of floating that hovers over This Is Not A Circular. Become a part of The Rainbow Family and let some sunshine into your musical life. It is the perfect prescription.


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The Rainbow Family – This Is Not A Circular