From 1986 to 1989, the Rainmakers released three albums, gained moderate success, and then went away for a four-year layoff. As is to be expected, a band that never exactly became a household name wasn’t going to suddenly set the world on fire under such circumstances with their fourth album. When they did return, though, they brought with them “all the elements that made the Rainmakers a great band” (Amazon.com) – “killer songwriting, great guitar work, a backbeat that goes right up your spine, a live-in-the-studio sound, and a more acoustic and folk/country feel on some songs” (Amazon.com).
Amazon.com says it is “considered by many to be the best Rainmakers album” (Amazon.com), but there isn’t anything here quite as toe-tapping as their debut album’s “Downstream” or “Let My People Go-Go,” Tornado’s “Snakedance” or even “Spend It on Love” from The Good News and the Bad News. The best bet is Another Guitar, yet another Rainmakers song that sounds like it wants to be played on the radio, but wasn’t. It “has all the humor and insight that the band was famous for” (Amazon.com).
Similarly, when they venture into ballad territory such as on Fool’s Gold or Greatest Night of My Life, the band delivers better than your average band, but still pale in comparison to their own previous material such as “Small Circles” or “Nobody Knows.”
Incidentally, Steve Phillips, who wrote and sung “Nobody Knows,” takes charge on Window and Wilder Side, one more appearance than he typically got per album. Unfortunately, neither is going down in even the Rainmakers’ canon as a classic.
The closest thing to a classic on this album is Little Tiny World. Written with typical Bob Walkenhorst humor, the song turns the It’s-a-Small-World concept into something Disney wouldn’t be able to stick in a G-rated movie. Walkenhorst’s pride is quickly burst when someone he assumes to be an autograph seeker pinpoints him as the guy who used to pump her gas. Another verse spits out a roll call of run-ins at a party in which Walkenhorst concludes, “Seemed most everbody there had/slept with everybody else/when I figured it all out/I figured I’d slept with myself.”
Most significant about this album is that it “marked the end of the band’s major label days (sort of, the CD was released on Mercury/Polygram in Norway and Canada) and the beginning of taking all engineering, producing, and creative decisions into their own hands” (Amazon.com). The Rainmakers would return for one more album a couple years later before they packed it in. While this is the weakest album in their discography, it’s still hard to not enjoy a Rainmakers album. This is the hardest album to track down, but if you’re a fan, it’s still a must.