This one morphs before your startled ears from a vaguely Middle Eastern sounding dance with an electro-beat and kitchen sink percussion into a vaguely Caribbean steel-drum-inflected shuffle with some African guitar thrown in for good measure. Too much pastiche for its own good? Or is “Harlem Sunrise,” rather, an audacious 21st-century stylistic mash-up? I vote for the latter. Nothing this warm and welcoming can be disparaged, in my book, nor something that manages, for all its sonic salmagundi and home-built vibe, to proceed with an air of the timeless about it. Even singer Tiffany Preston’s slightly pouty and distant voice, artfully reverbed and tweaked, works better here than it maybe should.
And I in any case am entirely in favor of major-key songs with minor-key introductions. That’s a nice songwriting trick you don’t hear much of in modern pop.
Rainbow Arabia–and the band name kind of immediately hints at what they’re up to–is a L.A.-based husband-wife duo (Tiffany sings and plays guitar; Danny does the keyboards and electronics). “Harlem Sunrise” is a song from their Kabukimono EP, which was released in July by Manimal Vinyl, also based in L.A. (Manimal Vinyl, by the way, is a name that does not hint at what they’re up to; the label does in fact release things on CD and digitally in addition to vinyl.) Thanks to Linda at Speed of Dark for the head’s up on this one. MP3 via RCRD LBL, and note that the link is not direct; just click “Download MP3” and it’s yours.