Manchester has always been a city rightly proud of its musical history. From New Order and The Smiths, through the halcyon days of the Roses and the Mondays, right up to Oasis, the north-west has always had the knack of producing quality bands.
The Rain Band are very much in that tradition. This self-titled debut album has all the Manc trademarks of swaggering confidence and brooding moodiness. Stephen Taylor’s bass playing has obviously been heavily influenced by Peter Hook, while Richard Nancollis’ vocals inevitably bring to mind both Liam Gallagher and Ian Brown.
All of which means that it would be easy to dismiss the trio as nothing more than indie-boy copyists, but that would be unfair. While there may not be much originality here, the Rain Band have obviously chosen to be inspired by their heroes rather than just copying them.
Opening single Knee Deep And Down is dominated by that low-slung bass sound, and sounds rather like Doves doing a Mansun cover version. The arrogance and aggressiveness possessed by all the best bands is there in full view too, with titles like The World Is Ours and the chorus of Easy Rider promising that “I just wanna kill you all”.
Like Happy Mondays and Primal Scream before them, The Rain Band are experts in mixing guitar music with elements of dance music. The marvellous Ruins And Remains glides along on a cool, funky bassline, showcasing Nancollis’ vocals to excellent effect. Elsewhere, Lucifer sounds as if it could be a prime target for trance remixers with its ecstatic rush of a chorus, while Journey To The End Of The Night recalls Death In Vegas with it’s dark, menacing atmosphere.
There isn’t much to criticise about The Rain Band, although it would be nice to hear the band explore their dance side more deeply. The album does tend to tail off towards the end with a couple of non-descript tracks, but there’s enough potential here to suggest that The Rain Band could well be soon following in the footsteps of their heroes.