This Ravines article was written by Macon Oxley, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Adam Jones
‘Everything’s Fine’ marks the second album release for producer and songwriter Chris Corney, under the moniker of The Ravines. After a lengthy hiatus following 2006’s ‘Manifesto of a Broken Heart’, this latest offering certainly doesn’t suffer from second album syndrome. Touched with Corney’s pop rock sensibilities, ‘Everything’s Fine’ is awash with enough sweet melodies and catchy hooks to sink a small ship.
Starting off, the title track opens the album in perfect style: a joyous burst of pop-infused rock full of optimism, setting the tone for what’s to come. Smacking of Bruce Springsteen (who Corney cites as an influence) and Steve Earle, this opener showcases a very American sound from the Bedfordshire act. In fact, the track is suspiciously similar to Earle’s ‘Someday’ with a pretty much identical verse melody. Then again, one could argue that if you’re gonna steal, why not steal from the best?
The follow-up to this impressive opener is regrettably a little wishy-washy. There are some moments in their suggesting something along the lines of a Ryan Adams-esque singer-songwriter, but this attempt at being grown-up seems to get lost somewhere in the soft rock ether.
The punkier ‘Daydream’ injects a much-needed return of energy to the album. A snip of a song at 2:04, this number nevertheless serves a vital role as a sort of aural palate cleanser preparing us for our main course. That said, there is some of the spirit present in previous tracks; it’s just turned up to a more appropriate volume here.
There’s a fair variety of sounds on this album. The Ravines flit between punk, Americana and pop, as well as some more sophisticated elements. For example, on ‘Indigo’, the band treats us to a very mature-sounding song – something that is testament to Corney’s honed songwriting skills. It’s a touch Crowded House, another listed influence, with Corney’s voice sounding eerily similar to that of Neil Finn’s. Standout track ‘Working Class Girl’ offers us a little more of that sophisticated pop touch. A smooth, slick production effort, this sweet number is not lacking in bright-sounding guitars and tight vocal harmonies – a tantalising titbit of top pop.
With a lot of upbeat, pacey offerings proving to be their most effective examples on this album, it seems a bit strange that The Ravines should end on an acoustic number. Of course, the change in pace doesn’t detract from the impressive craft present throughout, and ‘Queen Bee’ does seem to give some closure, rounding the album off in perfectly fine fashion.
And there you have it. If you’re a fan of fine songwriting, great production values, smooth vocal harmonies and catchy pop hooks with a little bite, then this is definitely one for your collection.
‘Everything’s Fine’ is out now on White Wail Records.