Christian rock band Pray For Rain (aka PFR) may be headed for mainstream success.
Unlike some of its contemporaries, PFR hasn’t had to cross over or disguise its message to achieve acclaim. Its strong Christian message remains the most essential aspect of the band’s music.
“Some of (the mainstream success) is already taking place with college radio and Triple A radio,” singer-guitarist Joel Hanson said during a recent phone interview. “Both of them somewhat independently picked up our music in the last couple of years and started playing singles.
“I guess the music is just accessible; (the Christian message) is not hindering us in that respect.”
Accessible is a huge understatement.
As exhibited on its latest album, “Great Lengths,” PFR churns out sugarcoated pop-rock with a generous helping of mouthwatering hooks. Just imagine the early ‘60s Beatles playing music in the ‘90s. (In fact, the band contributed a version of “We Can Work It Out” to the Beatles tribute album “Come Together.”)
Whether by listening or playing, PFR’s members obviously have been involved in music for many years. The result is that the group’s wide-ranging pop and rock influences translate into superb music.
A chief reason more Christian rock bands haven’t broken through into secular music is that many are lacking where music is concerned. Redundancy of message is another common pitfall. PFR has managed to steer clear of both shortcomings.
“This is why many times we’ve chosen to write about situational things, to help avoid the redundancy,” Hanson said. “There is a common theme throughout, though.”
PFR formed in Minneapolis in the late ‘80s. It signed to Vireo, a division of Sparrow Corp., in 1990. Sparrow is a leading label in contemporary Christian music.
The trio’s self-titled debut earned a Grammy nomination for contemporary/rock gospel album and a Dove award for Rock Album of the Year. All three of its albums, including 1993’s “Goldie’s Last Day,” have sold well.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: PFR Location and time: Shadle Park High School, Sunday, 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $10.50 general admission ($12.50 at the door), $16.50 for gold seat tickets, available at area Christian bookstores