Album Review :
Raining and OK - The Devil On Your Shoulder

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Artist: Raining and OK
Album: The Devil On Your Shoulder
Label: N/A
Release Date: September 18, 2007
Reviewer: Scott L

Tracklist:
1. Break The Calm
2. Endless Love
3. When You See Me
4. You Keep In The Dark
5. I’ll Be Fine
6. Wade In The Wires
7. The Devil On Your Shoulder
8. Megalomania
9. Splinters
10. Send Your Angels Down

Raining and OK is a 4-piece alt-rock band hailing from Phoenix, Arizona.  With a bit less pop and a bit more edge than a lot of the alt-rock that’s floating around the airwaves today, Raining and OK bridges the gap between the bubbly sonics of My Favorite Highway and the gritty modern rock of We As Human.  At least initially.  They tend to mellow as the CD progresses, eventually settling into a sound that would fit in well with the like of National Product, E for Explosion, and Wolftron.

Loud guitars and driving beats propel the listener through this 10-song CD while big thumping bass and passionate vocals drive Raining and OK’s sound home.  While the vocals can get lost a bit here and there, overall the mix is pretty good for an indie release and there are admittedly plenty of places where the vocals really shine through.  One such place is the song “When You See Me”, a well-crafter ballad that was one of my standout tracks.

As far as the message goes, The Devil On Your Shoulder strikes a balance between meaningful allusion and an outright offering of hope through God.  I might be reading too much into this, but the lyrics on this CD seem to be a progression from darkness to light.  And by that I mean that there’s almost a theme; kind of concept album-ish.  Whether intentional or simply a product of my over-caffeination, the tracks take the listener on a journey from the realization of need, through the struggle to be free, and finally to the surrender to the one in whom true freedom is found.  If I had to sum up this CD’s message in a single sentence, I’d use Jesus’ words from Matthew 19:26… “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

The CD packaging is well done although I’ve never been much of a fan of the hand-written look in the liner notes.  But at lease they didn’t do it all in one unending paragraph or in cursive as I’ve seen.  Professional looking, if a little rough on the eyes.  Cover art is a sweet use of what an advertising agency artist would call spot-color.  Subtle tones with a splash of red that draws your attention immediately to the band’s name.  Kudos for effective marketing.

Overall, a tiny bit repetitive sounding but not so much that you can’t sit through the entire CD and enjoy it… a couple times… in a row.  Which is good because the last track, “Send Your Angels Down”, is a really nice payoff.

“Lord, I am a filthy man
I lay my heart upon Your hands
Tell me who I really am
Because I don’t quite understand
The meaning of beauty and truth
God, I hope I fight this through”

If you like what you’ve heard, stay tuned.  I’ll be posting a review of their upcoming EP in the very near future.  The EP itself drops on March 17th… so start saving your pennies, kids.

www.myspace.com/rainingandok