Luke Rainsford has certainly left a sizeable imprint in the national scene over the past few years. Interweaving the steadfast heart-in-hand honesty of artists such as Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties and The Front Bottoms with the national DIY lilt of Whoanows and maybe even Holding Absence, Rainsford’s clear knack of writing deeply intimate odes to love, loss and everything in between has been proven many a time over the years. His last EP – 2018’s I Just Don’t Deserved To Be Loved – proved this sentiment wonderfully, with his gentle acoustic work plucking the heartstrings of listeners with amble precision.
Whilst his work thus far has always leaned into towards the more sombre and aching side of human emotion, it appears change is in the air. His latest EP World In Colour is easily bar far his most upbeat, sunny and pop focused material to date. However, that’s not to say this Birmingham musician has compromised his character or tone – if anything these attributes have only been bolstered by Rainsford showing a new face to his work.
Single ‘Tip Toe’ showcases this swiftly. A sun-kissed ode to the joy of sex (From henceforth this musician will be acknowledged by Lad Rainsford), the pop-punk tune effortlessly radiates the warmth of the forthcoming summer months and the wholesome joy of summer romances with it’s sunny tone and festival catered vocals. This unprecedented disposition catches one off-guard but consecutive track ‘Lack’ continues this transgression. Reprising the romantic platitudes, it’s minimalistic synthetic beats and swaggering pop aesthetic has ultimately has more in common with someone like The Japanese House as opposed to Aaron West - but that's by no means a criticism. Yes, It’s a monumental change from the stripped acoustics synonymous with Rainsford’s name, but Luke executes this tonal transition with charismatic grace and retained personalty.
The two other present tracks ensure to be more traditionally in line with what we associate with Rainsford. The gentle introversion of ‘In Spite Of All My Worry’ wouldn’t be out of place within the track listing of his more bare acoustic releases if it wasn’t for the ambience matching the subdued beauty of an August’s dusk lifting it to new heights. In relation, a reworking of the setlist staple that is ‘Frame’ see’s Luke intricately adding a new sense of oak scented folk instrumentalism to his proven sound. It’s a subtle demonstration in dynamism that shows aptitude as a musician and allows the material to breathe new life whilst not being out-shadowed by it’s more outspoken peers.
There’s remarkable development here but this is still the same old Luke Rainsford we’ve come to know and love. World In Colour is not so much a dramatic shift in Luke’s tone but rather a highly successful exorcise in surprising innovation, one that see’s this musician diversifying his sound whilst reenforcing his unyielding integrity and skill. It’s likely that many will find surprise in this release, but it’s even more unlikely that those will be disappointed in what it offers. In all, like the namesake implies, the work of Luke Rainsford is now infused with vibrancy.