The Rainkings: Another Time 1989-1994 – album review

The Rainkings – Another Time 1989-1994

Playtime Records

Out now – digital only

First emerging in 1989 with the curiously titled sictransitgloriaswansong ep, 2013 finally sees the release of The Rainkings debut long player. Hailing from Manchester, and releasing only 2 eps (and a couple of tracks on compilation lps), this album finally brings all of their much sought after studio recordings together. Not only that, but the tracks have been carefully remastered by Seadna McPhail and are sounding as fresh as ever. Featuring all of their ep tracks and some unreleased gems, this will delight long term fans and is sure to gain The Rainkings some new supporters. A welcome return too for Playtime Records, this release marks the reappearance of the the seminal Manchester label, with more releases imminent.

Kicking off with the power punk pop of Get Ready from their 2nd ep, The Rainkings main men, vocalist Stephen Holt and guitarist David Swift picked up where they left off with their earlier band, Inspiral Carpets, showing that they didn’t lose the knack of writing catchy garage pop songs. Joining Holt and Swift in The Rainkings were Carl Wolstenholme on bass and former Bodines sticksman John Rowland; a cracking rhythm section. Listening to Sunlight Fades, the A side from their first ep demonstrates what a tight unit they were. Sunlight Fades is yet another classic 3 minute pop tune. It is hard to believe that The Rainkings were overlooked back in the early ’90s.

The Playtime label which released their singles was the perfect home for them. Like the Inspiral Carpets Playtime releases, the Rainkings eps were packed full of quality tunes. There were never any fillers. Too Many Words demonstrates this. A slower number with a powerful Holt vocal, showing the band were no one trick ponies. Too Many Words, incidentally, features on the soundtrack of the forthcoming Spike Island movie.

Count Me In will delight fans of legendary Manc funksters the New Fast Automatic Daffodils (label mates of The Rainkings with a new compilation coming on Playtime soon), an upbeat, pop-rock-dance number. A highlight for me is Take, previously only issued on the “Home” compilation LP (which featured, amongst others, The Fall, Paris Angels, & World of Twist). Squire and Brown would snap your hand off for a tune like Take. Move Along The Chain, originally a B-side, should have been a hit single. Another great Holt vocal. I, for one, am glad that these lost classics are now available again for everyone to enjoy.

To The End, from 1992, shows how David Swift’s guitar playing had developed since their earlier days. To The End has a harder edge and a great bass line running through it. The Rainkings could easily have given bands from the early 90s a run for their money. Only last week, I was listening to some acclaimed indie pop from that era on 6 Music (well, it was acclaimed by the DJ); The Rainkings had the measure of most of their contemporaries of that there is no doubt.

Joined by Manny Lee (from the excellent Waltones) on bass and Dave Pearce on additional guitars for their final recordings in 1994, Step By Step should have been their 3rd single. “We haven’t even started yet. You’ll be amazed what you can get. Just take it slowly, step by step” sings Stephen. Bettering their other 2 singles, as is the final cut Way Down (issued recently on the Si Worral Distant Drums tribute album).

Although they had stopped releasing records by ’94, the band continued to gig at the Boardwalk in Manchester, playing to enthusiastic crowds, and rehearsing new material before disappearing. Interestingly, a superb tune called Good Times didn’t make the album cut. A rehearsal tape is available via Soundcloud. Check that out too.

A band from Manchester, not a Manchester band, who emerged at a time when all eyes were fixed on that city. At the time, they didn’t get the recognition they deserved. Finally, this is their time. Although this is a compilation of tracks spanning 5 years, there is a coherence to Another Time, and as such sounds like a great debut album.

The Rainkings : Another Time 1989-1994 is available digitally now via iTunes.

The Rainkings are on Twitter.

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