EP Review of Cain Rising: Jimmy and the Angels
The world was a very different place when I last sat down to review new music from Cain Rising. It was back in 2017 when the band released their EP Rear View Mirror, which had followed the great 2015 self titled album Cain Rising.
Like most of the rest of the world, COVID-19 and the lockdown took their toll on the band. Without an outlet for their high energy live shows, the band decided to take a hiatus. Frontman and songwriter Jim Price, aka Southside Jimmy, carried on Cain Rising as a writing/studio project, and this has resulted in this latest EP, entitled Jimmy and the Angels. The title is an acknowledgment of the collaboration and support of band members old and new that brought these tracks to fruition during the lockdown.
The Angels of the title are Jez Parry (bass guitar), Kev Hickman and Mark Edwards (drums), Greg Coulson (piano and Hammond organ), Kevin Blake and Ian Hopper (lead guitars), and Southside Jimmy (vocals and various other instruments).
So many of us had to adapt what we were doing when we were all plunged into lockdown during the pandemic. A lot of musicians got very creative during that time, and so it’s good to hear the result of those efforts with regard to Jimmy and the band.
What seems to have influenced the songwriting is not so much the lockdown itself but the fallout and political upheaval in the UK since the pandemic eased.
The opening track, “Welcome To My World,” captures the anger Jimmy feels, with his perception of an increasingly dysfunctional government in the UK, its descent into cronyism, as he sees it, and the deceit and disastrous effect it has had on the lives of ordinary citizens.
To lift the spirits somewhat, “Stand By Me” introduces gospel overtones and lyrics encouraging the best to rise to the surface in all of us. As Jimmy says, “especially important in these difficult times where people are being pushed to the wall by a seemingly uncaring, if not predatory, establishment.” With regard to the lyric, he speaks of condemning the “demons” that drag us down, but, as he notes, “demons” is probably not the word that will be used in live shows. Something a little more direct and profane, I suspect, to sum up his feelings towards the Government.
Track three, “Honeysuckle Rose,” could be interpreted as the third part of this trilogy of anger towards establishment, a very country story of the struggle to break even and its almost inevitable culmination of the protagonist falling into the grips of the darker side of society, the predators that feed off the failure of the state. However, if that is getting a bit heavy, then you can take a lighter view and just enjoy it in the spirit in which it was written as an homage to the storytelling inherent in country music.
Finally, the song “All the Way Round” is perhaps an attempt to lighten the mood a little. A flavour of Jimmy’s early folk influences creeps in here, from Dylan to The Strawbs. It’s a recognition of time passing and the need to grab life in your own hands, to make it count while you can and do it your way. “I came, I saw, I played the game, I changed the rules around!”
As with their previous releases, this is grown up country-tinged rock music, and the reference on style is very much Bruce Springsteen. Jim has a melodic but rocking style of singing, and the band lay down a really solid backing to present you with an accomplished and well-produced record.
It has been nearly five years since James Morris reviewed Cain Rising’s Rear View Mirror EP here at the Blog. Before the EP’s release, we reviewed three of the band’s singles. In the spring, James Morris reviewed “Rear View Mirror” and “Glasgow City Spires.” Over the summer, I wrote about “Social Man.” And then, of course, in the fall, James reviewed the EP. And today, we hope you’ve enjoyed reading James’ review of Cain Rising’s brand new release, Jimmy and the Angels. Be sure to check out those reviews, too, and give a listen the band’s rockin’ new 4-song recording. – GW