By Lord Randall

By my count, “Rattle” is the fifth album by North Carolina’s WAILIN' STORMS, so there’s no excuse for the band not to know both what it is and what it isn’t. 

What’s immediately evident in the the apocalyptic, blues-drenched opening of the title track is that this isn’t gonna be a record that relies on “shoulda beens, coulda beens”, or “if only” to get the job done, which is pretty refreshing in these times when it seems everyone’s got someone to blame except themselves. "Rattle" as a song seems a bit like a 5+-minute intro, so it doesn’t immediately grab the interest, but what it does do is make one curious as to what’s coming next. 

Snap-mare rhythms kick off "‘Rope", and I’m feeling like it’s 1993, and I’m at Club XIII in Alabama watching any of a number of the grunge bands that (dis)graced that backwater stage. The guitar tones are on point, and it definitely takes me back, so not sure if my enjoyment is born of nostalgia, or if WAILIN' STORMS is actually good. 

"Grass" is the first proper song – at least to my ears – so the guys still have a bit to learn as far as song order, and "Teeth" has a bit of a Western swing/swagger to it musically. Vocals throughout are reminiscent of a slightly-less prissy DANZIG and it’s clear lead singer/rhythm guitarist Justin Storms (get it?!) really, no, really embraces the Jim Morrison/Scott Weiland school of the singer being the focal point. "Crow" is the standout track of the bunch, and WAILIN' STORMS wisely situates it near the end of the album for maximum effect. Also deserving of special mention is lead guitarist Todd Warner, who keeps things entertaining over the 35+ minutes of playing time, utilizing a tone equally expansive and weighty. 

In all, WAILIN' STORMS is still a work in progress, but there’s room for improvement in almost any band these days. I’m intrigued enough to maybe check out their previous work, but if the quartet uses "Rattle" as the watershed that it could, I’m definitely up for seeing where things go from here.