Written and recorded by Mike Smalle on a souped up laptop and further augmented by Ian Catt.
released June 1, 2011
Written & Recorded by Mike Smalle (Copyright Control) Additional Recording, Mixing and Production on Tracks 2,3,4,7,8,12&13 by Ian Catt. Additional vocals on Track 1 by Sophie Coyle. Additional vocals on Tracks 3,4,7 & 13 by Sinead Buckley. Brass by Pete Berryl. Photography by John Doherty and Cover Design by Paul Callanan.
Rain on a River captures the musical zeitgeist admirably and succinctly; the songs are vibrant and current, but not so faddish as to be disposable. Smalle brilliantly tethers his weightless vocals to the quiet electro-pop spring of Triple Trouble…
The Irish Times
Mike Smalle is the man behind B-Movie Lightning and some of you may know him from Cane141, a Galway-based concern who released some fine albums and never received their dues. Smalle's latest project may well see him finally enjoying a day in the sun. B-Movie Lightning's Rain On A River is a lovely slew of slo-mo electronic pop with its fringes and frills very much on point with the current ebbs and flows in that world. Smalle's ability to write dashing pop tunes shouldn't be overlooked here with the opening 'Triple Trouble' one of the best damn tunes from this island in quite some time.
You never know just how important side projects are to musicians, and, also, how much of the side project is of the musicians themselves or of other collaborators. With Mike Smalle (who is one of the mainstays of Irish pop/electronica unit, Cane 141), you're also unsure how long any particular side project may last, as he tends to flutter by, stopping here and there, to work on this, that and the other. There are, however, certain things that link anything Smalle puts his hand and mind to: style, class, substance and intelligence.
Which brings is to B-Movie Lightning, which is the kind of album we need right now in order to make us realise how good music can be providing it's made in the right frame of mind. Unlike his previous Cane 141 work (notably, 2001's Garden Tiger Moth and 2005's Moonpool), Rain On A River references distinctly 80s pop music grooves. There are, for example, jangling hints of The Smiths in the intro to 'Footfalls At Echo Park'; there are sonar echoes of Depeche Mode and New Order on 'Sweet Sweet Abandon'. And all over the shop there are whispers of a songwriter allowing his love of music to dictate what comes next. So – another excellent album from one of the most low-key and underrated of Irish musicians and songwriters. Dig deep for this one – it's definitely worth it.
The self-released debut album of Galway's Mike Smalle (formerly of Cane 141) is an impressive collection of sunshine pop, hypnagogic jams and chilled-out brass-added electronic songs. You may remember the single 'Triple Trouble' from last year which kicks things off. The album was all recorded on a laptop by Smalle himself with production by Ian Catt (St. Etienne).
Scruples are made to be scrapped, right? One of the things I'm not 'supposed' to do is pass judgement on an album before I've heard it a few times. Today I say to hell with that. Rain On A River by B-Movie Lightning is an excellent pop album and I knew it by the third song. It comes as no surprise then that Rain On A River is a striking piece of work that instantly arrests the attention with its sleight of sound. There's so much to hear from balmy electronica and light pop to heavier beats and soulful, subtle stylings smeared through the entire collection. There's distinct appreciation for the progressive elements of upbeat dance tunes without any of the exhaustive exuberance that comes with heavy electronic music: it will lift you but won't drop you when the last track stops. There's a deftness here, a keen ear and light touch that has crafted an album which will outlive its contemporaries with enviable ease.
At the start of this year, 2UIBestow and myself chose Michael Smalle a.k.a B-Movie Lightning as one of our ten Irish tips for the year in our Irish Sound of 2011. After releasing a number of impressive tunes and a great remixes EP, the Galway man has finally gotten around to releasing his debut album.
Produced by Smalle and Ian Catt (Saint Etienne), Rain on a River comes out digitally and physically tomorrow (Wednesday June 8th), and is a very impressive debut. It's a beautiful collection of electronic goodness. Highly recommended.
Swear I'm Not Paul
Galway-based Mike Smalle was the main creative driving force behind Cane 141, the much-acclaimed electronic/pop act whose Moonpool album was nominated for the first ever Choice Prize in 2005. B-Movie Lightning is his new solo project, and such is its overall vibe and feel that it seems designed to soundtrack the summer months.Overall though, a welcome return from one of our more underrated talents.