Indian Ocean started essentially as a jam band, and Desert Rain showcases the early creations of the band in their most raw and spontaneous shapes. Recorded live in Delhi and later re-engineered, the songs here have structured compositional elements, yet in hindsight appear to be the results of spontaneous jams, and thus provide a vital link to the development of the music and the band's early inspirations. It's easy to notice what clicked with Indian Ocean -- a focus on East Indian folk music that quickly gained attention from youthful listeners, an almost unplugged sound that complements their cultural attributes, and a rigid compact lineup with each member bringing in his unique technical preeminence, all rolled into a perfect body of work. These early compositions were written by Susmit Sen and Aseem Chakravarthy and later "hand-molded" into rock-based rhythmic structures by the inclusion of Rahul Ram's bass and Amit Kilam's percussion, leading to an album of considerable -- even epic -- importance. In judging the importance of their recorded output, one must also consider the fact that Indian Ocean have no imitators, despite their roots in ethnic music. Desert Rain is a more vibrant and stylish album than the band's later releases, if not as popular, and after its release as a limited-edition copy in 1997 for circulation around Delhi, it was re-released in 2002 given the increasingly massive popularity of the band.
AllMusic Review by Bhasker Gupta