I first came across Rain in August last year with the release of the debut single Forget About You, since when there has been a string of singles, all of which have been thoroughly enjoyable. Rain came to fruition when Cathy Elizabeth, lead singer of Wellington-based band No Surrender found herself in lockdown and decided to form a studio-based project with sound engineer and producer Thomas Te Taite. With Cathy providing the songs and Thomas all the instruments (plus production and mixing etc.), they released a series of singles which saw them explore different genres, before deciding that rock was where their interests best lay.

This now brings us to their new four-track EP, which includes Pretty, which was released as a single in July, and a remix of her debut single which also now has a different guitar introduction. When I first heard Rain, I said they took me back to the days of Blondie and Pat Benatar in the States, and Kim Wilde in the UK, but on reflection I believe I also need to add Joan Jett and Chrissie Hynde. This is power pop rock, the style of music which expects people to singalong and just have fun. It is not music which needs concentration and hard work, but rather music which makes the listener want to move with a smile and often this is what music should be all about. Some bands want people to think how wonderfully clever they are, whereas others are way more basic and appeal to different needs. This comes through really strongly on Pretty, where the verse and chorus is almost commercial punk, and when it came to the run out I found myself thinking, “Surely they won’t” but yes they did, and we get a homage to one of the most essential punk numbers of all time.

Sixteen minutes of escapism, with a woman at the front who can sing sweetly or slide with an edge as she does on Uh Oh!, while the guitars are being riffed in a way which would never offend anyone, but has just enough bite to provide Cathy something to work with. The only place where this falls down somewhat is with the drums, as there is no real substitute for a sweaty human, and I would love to hear how this would come across with a power drummer like Neo Lee at the helm. But as it stands, this is a great collection of songs, with closer Forget About You being an absolute delight. It rocks, it rolls, and one can imagine Pat Benatar taking this to the top of the American charts. If you have yet to come across the delights of Rain, then this EP is the place to start.

Rating: 8/10