Some records, some bands, require deeper study – and reward it. Such is the case with Rahim and their latest, Laughter. The Long Island four-piece is everything you wouldn’t expect from the somewhat benighted isle, as they craft interesting music in unusual stylings. Certainly not easily accessible, Laughter does, however, wash over you in time, as one digs deeper and deeper.
To call Laughter epic or grand is to miss the point; the record is more The Fall of the Roman Empire than The Rise. Thumping, pounding drum and bass are a hallmark of the album, but lain above that is a complex, overarching story. Rahim mixes up styles and tempos as well, all creating something that is rather difficult to get a hold of at first. But if you keep spinning, you’ll find it working more and more.
Rahim don’t exactly do themselves any favors at the start of Laughter, however. After the sub-thirty seconds pots & pans instrumental “Death”, “The Same” isn’t developed enough past its initial ideas (and is a curious choice of a first single), the grand drums not quite matching the melancholy melodic vocals. But then the band surprises with “Through a Window”, whose interesting, even alt-country dark melancholy is unusually flowing.
From there, Laughter hits its highest notes, in its rock-solid middle. “Vision” is a dark tale told epically, something the band does well throughout the record. Yet “Endless Caverns” might be the best example of that, an inspired, stark haunt of life after man. “Tired Man” is more ‘traditional’ (if anything is ‘traditional’ on Laughter), but the alt-road drive still has surprises, like the background saxophone-like sounds. “Cities Change” fills out the semi-triptych ‘songs about the wearing of time’ with a tempo-changing disco-dark march down the streets of yesterday and tomorrow. And Laughter ends as unusually as it began, with some strange, dark choruses in “Of Course”, “Every Passing Night”, and the title track.
Like Rahim’s 2006 debut, Ideal Lives, Laughter can initially present as obtuse and difficult to handle. Yet, like an archeologist uncovering the riddle of the sphinx, there’s much to behold in its hieroglyphics.
MP3 Stream: “Endless Caverns”