You wait ages for a Stephen Holt fronted band. Then, two come along at once. Stuart Ralston checks out the first new recordings from the reformed The Rainkings in the form of their Fiveways EP.
Originally forming in Manchester in late 1989, The Rainkings saw former Inspiral Carpets members (singer Stephen Holt and bassist David Swift) reunite. With Swift now on guitar duties, they released two EPs and gigged in and around Manchester, undergoing several lineup changes along the way, before disbanding in 1995. When Stephen rejoined the Inspirals in 2011, we hoped that we might see some activity from his often overlooked other band. We were not disappointed.
We enjoyed their career retrospective compilation album Another Time, released in 2013. It sounds like a good debut album featuring some real gems, Take and Step By Step being amongst the highlights. Not only did Holt and Swift compile the album but they set about writing and recording new tunes too.
This release, Fiveways, being the first fruits of their labour and see them reunited with drummer John Rowland and joined by new members Cathy Brooks (from Manc legends Dub Sex) and Chris Hutchinson on keyboards and additional guitar. Swift has a reputation of being a prolific songwriter and here we are treated to no fewer than five recent tunes.
Opening with Low Hit, it almost has the same intro to their classic single Get Ready before exploding into an upbeat rocker set against some dark lyrics. It features a subtle hammond organ (from our mate, and producer of the first two songs, Paul Williams) too. Rowland and Brooks combine to form an awesome rhythm section no more so on the opening two tracks. Getting Nowhere is every bit as infectious as Low Hit. Both could easily be future floor fillers, as they have just the right amount of northern soul groove.
The remaining tracks were recorded at the end of 2013 with Jim Spencer on production duties. Nothing's Set In Stone has an almost REM feel to it. Despite its third placing on the EP, Nothing's Set In Stone could easily be the lead track. It features a dominant vocal from Holt, who seems to be relishing his second coming. In From The Rain and By My Side are another two great radio friendly songs.
The Fiveways EP is the debut release on their own Hear Here label and is an impressive debut indeed.
To order the EP contact firstname.lastname@example.org with details of how many copies you would like to order. The EP is also available on iTunes.
We interviewed The Rainkings back in April 2013. The Rainkings : Another Time 1989-1994 is available digitally now via iTunes.
The Rainkings are on Twitter and Facebook.