(Originally posted on AbsolutePunk.net)
It’s been over two years since Children 18:3 took the punk world by storm with their Tooth & Nail debut, but they’re finally back with a follow-up. The driving intro leads quickly into “Cover Your Eyes,” where the three Hostetter siblings waste no time confirming they can still tear up a song at a blistering pace. She said RUN! But I’m not running… The courageous track with Seth’s relentless rhythms and the trademark vocal tradeoff of David and Lee Marie is everything we’ve come to expect from the first record, yet it’s possibly even a better song than anything we’ve heard so far.
After reassuring us that they still have the old groove, Children 18:3 sets out at expanding their territory. Much of the rest of the album is not nearly so fast, and there’s no ska vibe spin-offs like “The City” here, either. The siblings downshift just a notch into brisk rock numbers with big intense sounds. There’s an instrumental interlude with a winding guitar riff that could have been lifted from a mewithoutYou album – although the track isn’t nearly long enough. Adding to the mix is the acoustic “Oh Honestly,” featuring some of the band’s strongest lyrics to date: Oh, honestly, if you try to find a problem here, you probably will… So, listen to the wind blow over the branches / Listen to the waves crash on the shore / I don’t have the big plan, just small glances / And every now and then I’m still unsure.
David sings with passion, and the vocal duality with his younger sister has never been stronger. Lee Marie continues to delight with a charming array of background “oh-oh-ohs,” and she still leads some vocals as well. Her highlight, “Oh Bravo,” is nowhere near as frenetic as “LCM” or “Search Warrant,” but it’s overflowing with heartwarming lyrics and a gigantic sing-along chorus.
The band says the album is about something big that’s just on the horizon, and they admonish us to stand our ground and remain courageous in the face of uncertainty; even though it may look like desert now, Rain’s A Comin’! Mainstream fans may not grasp the religious metaphors, but there’s plenty of depth if you want to dig.
Subtract the intro, interlude, and random ragtime piano outro and there’s only nine full tracks. At thirty-three minutes the album feels a little short for the twenty-eight months since the debut, and it doesn’t feel quite as invigorating, either. But it still has plenty of energy, and it’s definitely not wanting for talent or endeavor. Rain’s A Comin’ shows the Hostetters’ willingness to evolve and mature both musically and lyrically. That’s an encouraging sign for the band’s longevity, and it seems to have been well-received by fans and critics alike. We can only wait to see where they go from here.