The Big Takeover
Jack Rabid

Acoustic folk guitar and viola, with a whispery, troubled voice? Yes please! Rat Wakes Red is a strange moniker for such an exquisite murmur, but James Raftery makes lovely music that has a lot in common with Elliott Smith (in fact, his double-tracked voice is so similar, we might not be able to tell them apart blindfolded!) and Bookends-era Simon & Garfunkel. One could imagine Gus Van Zant or Mike Nichols using these recordings in a film Good Will Hunting or The Graduate-style; they're affecting-nagging in a similar manner. Think of the unhappy Bill Murray diving in the pool and staying submerged to The Kinks' worrisome Kinda Kinks folk-ditty, "Nothin' in the World Will Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl," and that's the pensive mood of meditative musing here. Each time Raftery hits one of his bass strings, it slips into a slice of Jeral Benjamin's hovering viola, and the air is like leaves falling on a fall day. See "Dead Ringer," a pretty song that's a comment about continually making the same romantic mistakes, for an example of this at its best.