John McCabe’s gift for the melancholic, observational ballad remains strong on his first single of 2020, “Here Comes The Rain.” The percussion on the song really helps set the mood with its expressive dynamics that accent the melody in which McCabe seems to come to terms with how life can seem perverse in its ups and downs and in the predictability of how things get better in some way eventually even when you can see the periods of struggle coming down the like. The chorus of “Here comes the rain again, I surrender / the clouds keep rolling by and I know things are going to get better” is Zen-like in its use of imagery as life circumstances and expressing a realistic hope because you’ve been through struggles, setbacks and even disasters before and even when they transform your life in significant ways you do get a reprieve regularly from the worst of it eventually. Fans of R.E.M., Green On Red and Uncle Tupelo will appreciate the way the jangle-y guitar work captures that journey from personal darkness to triumph over it with a hint of world weariness to give the song a little grit. Listen to “Here Comes the Rain” on Soundcloud and follow John McCabe at the links below.
John McCabe sounds like he took a deep dive into early-to-mid 80s Paisley Underground music and jangle pop produced by Mitch Easter, R.E.M. in particular on “On TV.” But like a lot of that music McCabe has some incisive commentary on the absurdities of American and international politics in recent years and the resultant cultural turmoil as institutions seem to be on the verge of collapsing and leaving society in free fall as the human race heads off into the sunset of climate catastrophe. And as part and parcel of that process we are overloaded with insipid information to make wading through the haze of marketing and partisan sophistry too often tied together challenging and tiring for most people. McCabe’s song sounds like a measured approach to this unfortunate situation in world civilization but it also articulates that frustration with economy and poetry and makes it all seem manageable in spite of how overwhelming it can be. Listen to “On TV” on Soundcloud and follow McCabe at the links below.