Heavy guitar rock is all the more noticeable these days, and in Summer Rain’s “Hold Her Hand,” electric six-string charm takes center stage in a way it hasn’t on the mainstream level in years. Summer Rain admittedly tackles the harmony we hear in their opening verses with a retro stylization that brings to mind some of the pop fundamentalists who brought a lot of throwbacks onto the charts some twenty years ago, but with a significant difference – these guys really love brawny instrumentation. “Hold Her Hand” has a fat bottom-end and a thick guitar crunch, both of which have been wholly missing from the FM dial lately.
The pop sensibilities in the structure of this single and its accompanying music video are inescapable, but personally, I think the cosmetic componentry they support is a big part of why “Hold Her Hand” is such an accessible, freewheeling listen. Summer Rain don’t sound like they’re out to prove anything here – they’re content to roll with the rhythm of a casual bassline and the lusty six-string melody that would adorn it, which is more than I can say for the bulk of their rivals coming out of the American and Canadian undergrounds at the moment.
Watch the video for “Hold Her Hand” below
“Hold Her Hand” features a vocal harmony as binding as any glue ever was in terms of holding the verses together with the beat, but it’s a lot looser than it had to be. Recently, the vast majority of indie rockers coming across my radar have been interested in tightly-crafted arrangements that have more in common with classic punk concepts than they do anything pre-70s rock n’ roll, but that isn’t the case with Summer Rain. They’re able to go even further back in time here, all while avoiding the saccharinity that frequently joins an artistic venture into the past.
I love how balanced the master mix is in both the main track and the music video, and although it puts a lot of pressure on an already tense guitar part closer to the conclusion of the song than the start, this is necessary to foster a swelling finish as opposed to a plaintive, subtle ending much as a lot of other bands would have employed here. I don’t get the idea that Summer Rain wants to be lumped into a group for anything in “Hold Her Hand;” really, it’s the exact opposite, and their performance – and the seriousness with which they give it – speaks for itself.
There is still boundless potential for Summer Rain moving forward, but to say they’ve offered up a solid debut might not be doing what they already are as a unit justice. They’ve got the basics of good pop songwriting down to a science, and given their penchant for heavy, guitar-focused pleasures in the studio, I think they’re going to have an easy time winning over a lot of dejected rock aficionados who have felt left out by the mainstream for a while now. It’s the right season for this sound, and Summer Rain knows as much in “Hold Her Hand.”