I can’t think of a better name for this band than Good Old War. Light-hearted at its core, this trio’s folk rock is nonetheless laced with introspection, regret, and enough layers to make Come Back as Rain a simple yet elegant piece of work. For fans of solid folk with an alternative twist or two, this may not be the genre’s poster boy, but you’ll find a lot to like about it.
Good Old War really only ever hit most people’s radar with a little track called “Coney Island,” still their most infectious and easily lovable track. But a few on Come Back as Rain try their very best to rival it, “Calling Me Names” at the top of the list. This track is one of those that’s fun to sing along with even before you start picking apart the lyrics. And to me, the sign of a great song is one where a deeper look into the poetry behind the tunes reveals something deeper and innately relatable. Yet even with that in mind, the opposite can be true for a track such as “Amazing Eyes,” which begs softly with its refrain of “you have amazing eyes” and remains on the tongue afterwards for its charming melody.
What might give some cause to hesitate though is how little Good Old War have changed with Come Back as Rain. It’s the same skillful folk they’ve been doing for years, upbeat and mainly acoustic, with occasional electric guitar work moving in and out, though the electric presence is loosely felt. This means that they’ve grown to perfect their own sound, making Come Back as Rain their most strongly produced album. But once you’re halfway through, there’s little else to call out as unique.
“Pain isn’t everything, I’m not into suffering” lead Keith Goodwin tells us though in final track “Present for the End of the World.” It’s a fitting epitaph for the album as a whole, one which dwells on loves found and lost. And it’s a reminder for us listeners that Good Old War aren’t trying to change anything, instead they’re producing feel good music with more than one dimension. Come Back as Rain is a very good album with some notable points in both halves. “Can’t Go Home” is a promising track, leading into some very listenable tunes like “It Hurts Every Time” and “After the Party.” At the end of the day, it’s simply an easy album to listen to.
Good Old War aren’t changing the world, but they’re at least making it a slightly happier place.