Writing a review of ‘The Rain Dance’ is similar to what Michael Spicer goes through on “the room next door”. Just as you think you are getting somewhere and grasping what’s going on, a spanner is thrown into the works and it’s back to square one. In Spicer’s case it’s usually whomever he’s mocking that causes him to rip it up and start again, in this case A Joker’s Rage have slipped in a song like ‘This Dance’ and the delete button goes into overdrive as the rulebook goes out of the window.
The North East jokers know this, they call themselves “genre-disrupting rock” on their social media channels. Don’t they realise that we like things compartmentalised? That we fear anything different? That a square peg does not fit in a round hole? Obviously not as the long-awaited debut album proves to be a major mindfuck for anyone who refuses to colour outside the lines. But, there are people out there that don’t follow the Lego instructions, and ‘The Rain Dance’ is perfect for them.
If however you are thirsting for a comparison, you wouldn’t be that far off if you mentioned A Joker’s Rage in the same breath as Royal Republic. Both possess the uncanny ability to lay down some arse-shaking beats, while there is some serious riffage going on in the background. The opening salvo of debut album (really? debut album?) ‘The Rain Dance’ is a perfect example. Opener ‘Temptress’ opens with a delicious guitar lick, before the band throw in some well wicked disco beats. Yes, disco beats, but they feature alongside some killer riffs. ‘Shylock’ begins much darker and suggests that it is going one way, before it pulls the rug away and goes in the opposite direction. Then there is the small matter of ‘My Heroes’, as perfect a slice of Americanised modern rock as you are as likely to hear today, but not from a bunch of yanks, from a band hailing from the North East of England. No matter how light the song might be, the riffs are still there though.
‘This Dance’ is the one that had the replay button worn out, the one that will have you checking that a different band hasn’t somehow managed to infiltrate your playlist. It’s what Duran Duran might have sounded like if Andy Taylor wasn’t constantly overruled by Simon Le Bon. There might even be a slight tribute to the classic synth pop anthem ‘Sweet Harmony’ in the background? So how do A Joker’s Rage follow that up? With the insanely catchy ‘Screaming With The Lights Out’, that’s how. Title-wise it suggests a full-pelt metal anthem, but in reality it’s extremely polished, causes an outbreak of crap-dancing, and great fun. Fun? Remember that word? Yes, A Joker’s Rage (along with Royal Republic) are out to bring the fun back to music, and with ‘The Rain Dance’ they certainly have achieved that.
‘The Rain Dance’ is available now, connect with A Joker’s Rage here.
Review – Dave