Swimming in Sunlight is the debut release from Rainwater, a project helmed by songwriter Blake Luley. The album is an intimate, personal journey out of the dark wilderness of adolescence and self-loathing into the light of love and acceptance. These gentle, shimmering songs were written and recorded in a variety of places, from bathroom floors to studio spaces, over the course of eight years, charting the ups, downs, and quiet revelations of Luley’s young adulthood in Brooklyn, NY. Heartbreak, loss, and anxiety give way to newfound love, reconciliation, and hope as the album’s ten songs mark time spent fighting darkness, not in vain. In a way, this debut almost feels like the end of a chapter as Rainwater relocates to Seattle, WA.
During his time in Brooklyn, Blake Luley has been a multi-instrumentalist with the indie rock bands Air Waves and Howth, as well as a solo composer of experimental music under the name Ajnabi. Though Swimming in Sunlight represents a sharp shift away from the dark ambient soundscapes of Luley's composition work, he retains his ear for texture and rhythm. Like a pleasant daydream, the songs change shape from ramshackle, whispered indie reminiscent of Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie, The Microphones), to cavernous, free-floating shoegaze more akin to Slowdive, to even more surprising realms beyond. This is a guitar album where bright tones ring like wind chimes, acting in concert with the lyrical themes of light and darkness. Heavily reverbed sax floats in and out like a breeze, while tufts of electronic menace drift by like clouds. Tender harmonies from Luley’s partner Aviva Stampfer drive home the sense that over all, this is an album about finding strength and guidance in love. These are meditative, patient songs that find deep wells of grace and feeling in their seeming simplicity. Swimming in Sunlight is out August 12th on limited edition cassette, CD, and digital via Furious Hooves.