A post by Patrick Viruntu
Thirty Sunsets, Charlie Rayne’s debut EP, sheds an appealing and intriguing light on the folk musician.
Opening with a blast of acoustic guitar, the first song, “Laura’s Song” is an impressive, yet earnest tune. Its rhythm and melodies are invigorating and catchy. Its lyrics are personal but very relatable. Charlie Rayne demonstrates a powerful ability to communicate and to resonate with his listeners.
The EP is an honest display of Rayne’s self-exploration through his loves, embellished by intricate guitar arrangements in the vein of a Bright Eyes meets The Tallest Man on Earth. “Goodbye For Now” starts with a driving fingerpicked admission (“I was so mean and just as obscene as a dream that never comes true”) that escalates into an aggravated adieu mercilessly strummed (“I won’t be around, no I don’t want to be around a clown, a snake, a bore”). Rayne engagingly takes us through the motions of his frustrated farewell.
“The Sun Rose”, from which the EP takes its name is by contrast an upbeat, eager and optimistic quest: “I wait for a love that is rightful/ To show me all the beauty there’s to see/ A love I know my heart would die for/ But still I am as lonesome as can be”. Charlie Rayne here takes us soaring with a bewitching melody that vivifies his surreal imagery. “Just as the stars they had planned it/ the volcanoes erupt as we run/ to the other side of the planet/to climb a rainbow and be swallowed by the sun” sings Rayne before breaking into an exhilarating and dynamic guitar solo.
And as if he’s found what he’s looking for, Rayne then finds himself vulnerable and uncertain and offers “Blue Eyes” his love. “Blue Eyes” is the EP’s strongest track. Rayne here sings deliberately and boldly. His voice rises and falls in a tender, moving appeal. His words convey resounding passion and it seems the recording itself trembles under Rayne’s sway.
The EP closes with “Subterranean Love”. The song shows a shift in Rayne’s attitude. As confident, sardonic and poignant as can be, the embittered Rayne demands that his Sally-Mae gives back what she owes in the best contrived love she knows: “I’ll tell you now what I have learned/Don’t revel in the hearts you’ve captured/The love you give won’t be returned/So find a love that’s manufactured”. After a strong instrumental break, Rayne then explodes the nature of his bitterness and depicts a despairing man, cashing in lust to replace the love he’s given: “Don’t you know I’m only here because I paid/ See, I get lonely too”.
Thirty Sunsets is an extremely promising debut by the Lebanese singer-songwriter. Although the noticeably low production value might at first alienate some listeners (it was recorded on cassette), there is no doubt that the EP paints a marvelous portrait of the music and persona of Charlie Rayne, who’s made of his next work a very anticipated sequel.