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Emergency Third Rail Power Trip

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iTunes Review

The Rain Parade’s members were reticent to be pigeonholed with the “paisley underground” tag (a phrase coined by their contemporaries, the Three O’Clock), though they were easily the brightest stars of the subgenre. Their 1983 debut album Emergency Third Rail Power Trip is steeped in a closely studied ‘60s Byrdsian jangle where 12-string Rickenbackers swirl into subdued psychedelia reminiscent of Oar-era Skip Spence under a light drizzle of maracas and tambourines. “Talking In My Sleep” opens with singer David Roback inflecting with a subdued cool under backwards sounding guitar solos and lazy vocal harmonies. “I Look Around” puts Buffalo Springfield-inspired rhythms with Syd Barrett flavored mysticism into a supercollider to birth a song ahead of its time — it sounds like it could have been recorded in the ‘60s, though most bands didn’t nail this kind of recreation until the ‘90s. Fans of Arthur Lee are sure to swoon over the Love-tinged “1 Hour 1/2 Ago,” while the demure and sleepy “Blue” hints at the tranquil tones that Roback would later bring to Opal and then Mazzy Star.

Customer Reviews

A Psychedelic Classic

Listening to this album, it's hard to believe that it was made in the 80s. The songs, the reverb effects, and studio mix all make it sound as though it were straight out of the late 60s when psychedelic pioneers like Syd Barret's Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, and The Byrds were showing us what can happen to pop with the right chemical enhancement. The bass line in This Can't Be Today is masterful, making it perfect for a British, Austin Powers-style dance club-- after Allen Ginsberg had spiked the punch. This is an album that I have never completely retired. The songs never dull, with the possible exception of Carolyn's Song with its slower-than-cannabis tempo. Still, it's a beautiful track. I strongly recommend this classic album to anyone with an ear for great psychedelic pop.

Emergency Third Rail Power Trip

If you are a Echo and the Bunnymen fan, with a love for the fuzzy guitar sounds of bands like the Pixies - this is an album for you. Sometimes it is a little too "trippy" but I can fault them for being true to the genre!

a pair of Paisley Underground classics!

Long gone but not forgotten, the Rain Parade were perhaps the purest neo-psychedelic band from LA. The first album is obviously influenced by early Pink Floyd, but on the last 5 tracks (the "Explosions in the Glass Palace" EP) they really found their own sound. Definitely more worthwhile than just a nostalgia trip, 60s or 80s.


Formed: 1981 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '10s

Of the bands who emerged from the West Coast Paisley Underground scene of the '80s, the Rain Parade were the group that paid most explicit homage to psychedelic music of the '60s at its most unfashionable; as punk and new wave gave way to what became alternative music, the Rain Parade were the first band to declare, at least musically, that the hippies may have been right about something after all, as their languid tempos, streamlined melodies, modal counterpoints, and impressionistic lyrics evoked...
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Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, Rain Parade
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