After the Storm


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After the Storm Review

by Ned Raggett

Ritchie Blackmore may have gotten more mileage out of the band name, but the original Rainbow's one album from 1968 shows that this quartet, completely unrelated to Blackmore's outfit, had the idea for appropriate nomenclature first. That said, After the Storm is one of those releases that isn't deservedly obscure per se, but definitely doesn't deserve automatic kudos for being rare and therefore valuable for that reason alone. One of any number of L.A. groups of their time and place, Rainbow put together plenty that was in the air around them, from Love's amazing confections to the Byrds' transmogrifications to Iron Butterfly's keyboard-heavy explorations (perhaps no surprise given that bandleader/chief songwriter W. David Mohr played both organ and piano) to all sorts of electric blues -- the album's one cover is a take with saxophone of Willie Dixon's "I Just Want to Make Love to You." As an individual effort, though, it's generally unremarkable -- if anything, it's the odd little elements scattered throughout that give it any uniqueness, but that's not enough to sustain a full album. So there's the fragmentary "Debby's Party," which starts the album, all cheers and party noise; what sounds like a door opening before the beginning of "Love Allusions"; the easygoing guitar introduction to "Leaf Clover" (very much a post-SMiLE Beach Boys song in feel); the chipmunk voice followed by the intentionally over the top introduction of Mohr on "Does Your Head Need Straightening?" -- good moments all. Otherwise there's a lot of bravura singing here and there, soothing background harmony singing that's pleasant but little more, and the general sense that these guys meant well -- can't knock that, but there's nothing much more to say. The 2008 reissue adds no bonus tracks but the reproduction of the album packaging is pleasant enough.

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