By Mariah Secrest
A bands name says a lot, doesnt it? Much of a bands coolness factor owes itself to just the right moniker, one that encapsulates the deep artistic intentions and straddles that slim tightrope of making sense on the one hand and meeting a certain quotient of mystery on the other hand. The mystery component is becoming increasingly key, as it suggests untold depths for listeners to unearth. So I suppose that I expected that the band name Raining and OK carried a profoundly metaphorical story behind it. As I caught up with a few of the band members after a show, they revealed to me the complexities of their names origin.
A friend of theirs picked up a booklet that was entitled, rather unimaginatively, Training Handbook. Whether purely bored or attempting an improvement upon the book titles creative shortcomings, he began crossing out letters until he was left with the letters raining and ok.
So there go the layers of untold mystery. But I would venture to say that Raining and OKs name is the only haphazard element of the band. These Phoenix fledglings are the real deal, and they have the backing to show for it. Only a year old, they are hardly infants in the music scene, already being listed as one of The Daily Chorus’ top 20 unsigned bands. MTV’s “The Real World” has played “I’ll Be Fine” and “Devil On Your Shoulder” in back-to-back episodes, and the band was featured earlier this year in Alternative Press magazine.
If the music industry were a family tree, Raining and OKs branches would maybe sprout up as the cousins of intelligent, anthemic rock get-ups such as Switchfoot and Snow Patrol. Trevor Tillerys voice is flawless enough to appease the fringes of pop music while simultaneously satiating the rockers with measured angst and the emo kids with fragile, lilting falsetto. This is a band thats widely accessible while maintaining a high degree of artistic integrity.
Their 2007 album The Devil On Your Shoulder delivers a rock-solid debut, albeit a short sampling for a full-length album (ten songs). Or maybe it only seems short because when its finished you just want to keep listening. Break the Calm and Endless Love set the tone with energy and attack, though the album mellows out considerably by the end. Wade in the Wires resumes the rock feel in what I believe is their strongest song, a gutsy and honest appraisal of pornography addiction. The title track The Devil on Your Shoulder paints a stirring picture of the brokenness of humanity. The album ends on a somber but hopeful note in Send Your Angels Down, which is both probing and soothing and is quite possibly my favorite track of the album.
Raining and OK’s bandmembers, though averaging at the ripe young age of 20 years old, have put together an album deceitfully more solid and mature than would be expected from such a brief run at it. With such a solid foundation, I look forward to watching (and hearing) the progression of their band career.
Mariah has currently landed herself in Tucson, Arizona, where she just finished a philosophy degree from the University of Arizona. She enjoys writing almost as much as she enjoys making music. Almost. You can visit her on Myspace.