Rain Parade: Crashing Dream (1985)

As noted previously, Rain Parade's debut, Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, remains one of my all-time favorites, a perfect merger of jangly college radio guitar pop and retro-60s psychedelic shadings. The follow-up (their final proper studio album) couldn't help but fall a little short. Guitarist David Roback (brother of frontman Steven) had departed to form Opal and, later, Mazzy Star, though guitarist Matt Piucci still conjures some delightfully wiggly and trippy guitar work; and the songs aren't quite as consistently stellar as the debut.

None of which is to say Crashing Dream isn't still a terrific album, certainly deserving a little more attention than it generally receives (it's absent from streaming media, and the out-of-print CD reissues have been of questionable origin). It's less deliberately psychedelic than Emergency, a bit more straight indie jangle-pop, but still has plenty of highlights. Killer track "Don't Feel Bad" is the closest thing to their earlier work, a lysergic guitar riff with a bassline straight out of Revolver-era Beatles, a picture-perfect psyche-pop delight.

Other stand-outs include opening ballad "Depending on You," a quiet, melodic piece with a rousing vocal turn from Roback; the chiming "Mystic Green," which finds them more in Byrdsy territory, with a bit of Paisley Underground peers the Long Ryders; and the similarly shimmering "Fertile Crescent," owing far more to R.E.M. than to the garage band 60s. Elsewhere, "Shoot Down The Railroad Man" mines a darker vibe, more in line with fellow Paisley Underground stalwarts the Dream Syndicate

It's a pretty solid package overall, though it would have been stronger had they held back a few tracks from the superb post-Emergency EP Explosions in the Glass Palace (which ended up as a bonus on CD versions of Emergency). 

Alas, the album itself is pretty hard to track down these days, but it's worth checking out online. Here's a rip of the entire album from YouTube:

Here's an audio rip of "Fertile Crescent":
...and "Mystic Green":