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  • Jonathan Widran

WILL RAINIER, Wobble in the Moon

The haunting beauty, grace, thought provoking insight and overall sonic brilliance of Seattle singer/songwriter Will Rainier’s second solo album Wobble in the Moon offers vibrant proof that true artists are multi-faceted and evolve the way their muses intend. A handful of years ago, he was on a whole other creative journey, alternately creating electronic pop and fiery, distortion filled punky power-pop with his similarly eclectic wife Jen Garrett as Stuporhero.

Now, as Rainier intensifies his search for self as a more introspective, socially conscious, forward- thinking artist, the vibe is a complete 180 into gentle, lilting, Americana-tinged balladry with ambient/symphonic elements more haunting and heartfelt than loud and defiant. As we enjoy the focal emotional point of Rainier’s cool straightforward vocal often surrounded by the lonesome pedal steel shimmer of Raymond Richards and Kevin Suggs, we can be grateful that Garrett is still in her husband’s mix, contributing a gorgeous co-lead vocal on the easy rolling “Are You Waving Goodbye” (a somber reflection on impermanence) and lush harmony vocals on “The Patio,” “Endless” and “Dark Secret Heart.”

“Dark Secret Heart,” which includes the lines “careening off a dead-end cliff/Into the bottomless pit of regret,” typifies some of the heavy-duty, soul cleansing introspection Rainier shares throughout - echoed by a line like “drawn right into the endless dark abyss” on the moody, folk-pop flavored “Endless.” Ditto the easy strumming close “Into the Dark,” which soberly reminds us that “The tomorrow they promised/Is all just an illusion.” But at a few junctures along the way, he also offers shards of hope in the midst, as on “Somewhere Tonight,” following a line like “Because I’m afraid of the dark or afraid of myself” a few verses later with the conflicted imagery of a “dark rainbow lifts the gloom from your face.” Likewise, while the dark piano and smoky trumpet laced “To Supreme” is one of the most melancholy, gloom filled tunes musically, it actually pays homage to the dark divey bars where Rainier has found solace over the years.

Rainier also taps into an aspirational, outer space motif here and there, balancing grounded social commentary like “Your Machine” (about our addiction to reality TV and social media) with images of flying high, astronaut up in the sky, rocketship blasting off, weightlessness, The Milky Way, satellite, swaying giants up to the sky and, yes, the endlessly intriguing titutal “Wobble in the Moon.”


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