Painted Friends – “Cain Complex”


Detroit-based rockers Painted Friends exude a charismatic sound on new single “Cain Complex,” released today. An independent spirit is evident from the get-go, as vocals proclaim “And now I’m an outlaw and will be for life, with nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.” Rollicking guitar layers enter prior to the “ooh, trouble is all around,” refrain, gripping with a soaring vocal composure and bluesy/Americana intertwining. “If he gave me life, then I choose to die,” the vocals further, tonally resembling a cross between My Morning Jacket and Fleet Foxes.

The “trouble is all around,” refrain hypnotizes during the final minute, showcasing a versatile range from the triumphant guitar-led rock to the dreamier murmurs to close things out. Lyrical sentiments of personal freedom, and celebration of individuality, coalesce around the outlaw spirit conveyed — gripping with its stellar rock production and celebration of self-confidence, drawing inspiration from Johnny Cash and the Cain and Abel story.

“This song is the result of non stop listening to Johnny Cash while simultaneously obsessing over the profoundness of the Cain and Abel story,” says member Jeremy McWhorter. He elaborates further, below:

There is just too much creative inspiration there to not write a song. It’s about how I find myself thinking and behaving like Cain more often than I want to admit. It could be jealousy of others success despite the hard work that I put in with no results, or even just putting in half-effort work and expecting more in return. It started with the lead guitar riff. I remember it coming to my head while noodling around on my guitar. The “trouble is all around” line came to me while I was at work one day. I kind of built the story in the context of Cain out of that line. This was definitely a fun song to put together, it basically wrote itself.

This and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Emerging Singles’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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