Rainbow Days, the debut album from Paolo Mancasola, is a sprawling, incredible exploration of mood and artistry. The songs here are loose and stretched, built around acoustic offerings but often veering into experimental, ambient territory.
They’re covered in an ambient wash, and the sounds of nature are sampled extensively, turning environment noise into another instrument on the album.
There are some familiar reference points here, icons in the folk world like Damien Jurado or Nick Drake, and more experimental figures like Arthur Russell come to mind.
Mancasola’s own voice is deeply resonant, and easily flits up to the occasional higher register, though oftentimes the lyrics are obscure. The mood is what is most important here, and he certainly conjures one.
Lead single High Noon is a standout, the soft strumming and moving vocal performance providing a perfect introduction to what the record has to offer.
Songs like Crawl, Walking, Cold Through the Winter, Grampa, and more tread in familiar folk territory, while others like Smudge, Foot Stomper, and the title track veer into shoegaze and ambient, pitting washes of distortion and ambiance to great use in building the albums nostalgic atmosphere.
It’s a record of reflection and stillness, and at 16-tracks long, an easy one to get lost in.
It’s clear that Mancasola is an inspired songwriter, one whom is likely regarded amongst his friends as a hidden talent.
With Rainbow Days, he is finally sharing his gift with a wider audience, and anyone lucky enough to stumble on this collection will not be disappointed.
We’ll all be curious to see what direction he takes on the next release.