First, let’s establish something — Bleeding Rainbow is one of the coolest band names ever. After deciding that PBS lawsuits were not worth the trouble, the band formerly known as Reading Rainbow decided to add a simple, clever and slightly morbid twist to their name and avoid awkward questions like, “What does LeVar Burton play?”
Bleeding Rainbow’s newest album, Yeah Right, follows in the footsteps of 1990s shoegaze, popularized by My Bloody Valentine and resurrected by bands like Yuck and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart in the last few years. Washes of fuzzed-out guitar mingle with the dreamy melodies of singer Sarah Everton. “Drift Away,” one of the highlights of the album, sounds like early Best Coast (which is a compliment) with its hypnotic guitars and hazy vocals.
However, though much of the Yeah Right is exhilarating, many songs follow a trajectory that is all too predictable. It’s okay for an artist to employ a well-worn musical formula if they are able to either bring something new to the table or just be so good at executing the formula that their lack of originality is inconsequential. At that point, it’s just good music. When Yuck, a young grunge band from Britain, released their debut in 2011, they didn’t add anything new to the genre, yet their grasp of that distinctive early nineties sound was so excellent and to the point that it was a joy to listen to them. Bleeding Rainbow achieves fleeting transcendence — moments when the hypnotic guitar fuzz and Everton’s vocals combine perfectly. But as a whole, Yeah Right falls just short. Though it has its sizzling moments (the melody in “Waking Dream” or the subtle riff in “Go Ahead”), much of the album barely reaches a simmer.
A band once called Reading Rainbow changed their name to be less derivative. It’s time for their music to catch up.