PFRminneapolisYou'll pray for a live PFR concert after hearing the group's live album, Minneapolis.....
13 tracks / 48:52

Ah, it's great hearing our old friends PFR (Pray For Rain) again! This live set, called Minneapolis, is pretty much a 'best of' collection with the added benefit of the energy of a live performance. The good news is that Joel Hanson (guitar), Patrick Andrew (Bass), and Mark Nash (drums) sound as fresh as they did in '92 and manage to put on an excellent performance.

PFR's very recognizable sound is still intact and will still remind you of The Beatles, Squeeze, Badfinger and even Queen ("Goldie's Last Day"). It's almost as if the musical influences of that great era of classic rock have coalesced and found a comfortable place in the PFR sound, yet the band is in no way imitative or contrived.

The comfortable hooky pop that we learned to love so much takes on a slightly harder edge here – the band absolutely roars through "Merry Go Round" (which still retains its somewhat sinister carnival section), and tears into the extended ending with such power that one of the band members' 'whooooh' at the end makes it sound like they might have even surprised themselves.

This is a great play-in-the-car album, with plenty of rock & roll energy. Nash's drumming is funky and propelling, the bass is melodic and strong, the guitar work is nicely raw and textured. Of course, the signature vocals are spot-on and you'll be singing along, just like you're supposed to. I can only guess (in the absence of detailed credits) that the carnival sounds I alluded to, as well as the strings on "Great Lengths," are triggered samples from the keyboard. Some information from the band's website: " Patrick's brother Michael Andrew and ...Aaron Ankrum added some musical muscle with guitars, keys, lap steel and vocals...." Overall, the sound is appropriately raw – apparently, a good time was had by all – including the band.

Ending the project with a rousing live version of the band's cover of The Beatles' "We Can Work it Out," the recording will no-doubt whet your appetite for a live PFR show, and I suppose that's the best thing you can say about any live album.

-Bert Saraco

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