To attempt to define The Rising would be a mistake. They do not fit into a specific genre of music. I listened to their latest album off the back of a label that read: “country rock band”. Of course, this evokes a certain kind of sound. And whilst it does appear on the album, there are also songs that did not fit this particular brand of music. What Moving On does is take us on a journey through a soundscape that includes pop, rock, country and punk. It stops off at the pop bands of the early noughties whilst winding its way through the world of country-rock. The vocal style of lead singer Chantelle McAteer reminds me of a young Avril Lavigne, mixed with a bit of Pink and a touch of Carrie Underwood. She may not possess the strongest voice in my opinion, but that did not stop me from nevertheless enjoying this album once I’d decided that it was best to fling my preconceptions out of the window and treat the music for what it is, rather than what it was advertised as being.
It is highly likely that you will find at least one song to like on this album. Whether it is the commercial radio-friendly pop of ‘Forgive and Not Forget’, the country and western swing of ‘Back to Me’, or the boogie woogie vibes on ‘Reasonable’. It is fair to say that this band is not defined by genre but dip in and out of the sounds that they think will work best for the stories that they wish to tell. And I think that’s probably why they are labelled as a country band. Because it is about the stories first-and-foremost. Featured here are mainly narratives centred around romance and heartbreak. For example, ‘Even the Stars Fall for You’ is a gorgeous ballad that draws lightly on the sound of country music without losing its middle-of-the-road pop tones. Meanwhile, ‘Take a Hint’ and ‘Love Is’ produce a more hard rock sound in keeping with the aching emotion at the centre of their respective narratives. They seem to draw heavily on the songs of Carrie Underwood, and could be described as darker versions of a Catherine McGrath lovesong.
My personal favourite track on Moving On is ‘Yellow House’. It contains some fabulous lyrics which are woven beautifully with some rocking riffs. This is where The Rising hit the top, showcasing their desire for authenticity mixed with great music. Following close behind is final track ‘Roundabouts’, which again contains some great lyrics sung in a pop/punk vocal style. The only downside to it is that its running time, just short of six minutes, is a bit too long. It outstays its welcome slightly but it is, nevertheless, the perfect song to end this eclectic album.
To fully appreciate the genre-bending sound of The Rising one needs to throw any preconceptions out of the window. If you’re expecting a certain sound, then one song might fit your criteria but others will be some way short of the mark. It makes them more vulnerable to critical judgement from critics who may want to box them into a particular corner. But I think this is unfair. If I was hard-line about my country music listening, I probably wouldn’t rate this album half as much as I would listening to it simply on its own merit. But why should it receive less acclaim simply because it does not fit the conventions of a particular genre that, clearly, for certain songs, The Rising weren’t making them to fit into in the first place? Therefore, I judge this album on its own accord. And it is an album which, for their first, is rather good. It might start off a bit shaky but, once it finds its rhythm, there are some great tunes to enjoy. Some might overstay their welcome, but on the whole, their sound and lyrical content provide for an engaging listen. Moving On is a decent follow-up album for this Irish band from their 2014 debut Coming Home. It is also a great platform on which to build and move on (if you pardon the ironic expression) to better things.
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Featured Image (C) The Rising