No one has ever told me Rahim is his or her favorite band. Come to think of it, I'm not sure anyone has ever talked to me about Rahim at all. I've introduced many people to the creative drumming and intense energy of Rahim and they all look at me, surprised, and say "This is really good!" "I know," I reply. "You think I would make you listen to something terrible?" I fell in love with this band in late 2004 and have been waiting to see where the future was going to take them.
Three years ago Rahim released their first EP on the French Kiss record label. I immediately became enamored with their experimental nature, off-kilter rhythm and high-energy vocal delivery. These guys were pushing boundaries while making wonderful indie-rock music. When they released their debut full-length album a year later (Ideal Lives) they continued to build on the same foundation they set with their EP. Unexpected instruments, sounds and moods all jumped out of my computer speakers upon first listen. They were quickly becoming one of those bands I always talked about to anyone who wanted to discuss music with me (I'm afraid their aren't many of those people left).
Two years have gone by and Rahim are on a new label, have a new band member and seemed to have settled into a more specific sound. Still, they are an experimental indie-rock band at heart, but they have traded their DC post-punk influenced sound from their first album for a safer, more grown up sound. Risks are still taken all over this album, but comparing the old with the new, the risks now seem more calculated.
Stand out tracks like "The Same" and "Cities Change" stick out from the eight other safe, mid-tempo songs that live on this album. Perhaps the band is in a transitional period. Gone are the off-kilter drums (which somehow keep perfect rhythm). The trumpet is barely used on this record ("Dark Harbors"), where it was used on two or three tracks on their previous album, and most notably, gone are the anxious yelps of their lead singer. They seem to be playing it safe, or at least a little safer than before, but still sounding very different from anything else. They have found their sound - as most songs on this album sound strikingly similar. They're not straying from their newly developed formula (for both the better and the worse).
I guess it's inevitable that bands alter their sounds as they progress with the times, the difference with Rahim is, they started with such a great, "heyday of DC" type sound, it's sad to hear them stray from it. They are obviously growing up. They've got darker tones and more focus on vocals than before. I just wish they had realized that less risks equal fewer lessons learned. Maybe they learned a lot from all the risks they've taken previously. I mean, it must be hard keeping the tempo with some of that crazy drumming.
While I do miss their former, more experimental nature, this album clearly shows the band more confident in themselves as music makers. Perhaps this time out more heads will turn and more discussions will be had about Rahim - the band that deserves notice from a hard to impress public. These boys have the skills; they just need to be heard.
MP3 Download - "Through A Window"