Grieve (2 Disc Definitive Edition)
Slide Music Group
Sincerely Paul was another rather obscure band in the pantheon of Christian alternative acts that were gestated in the mid-1980s. After a couple of demos that were released in 1988 and 1989, they signed on to Michael Knott’s Blonde Vinyl Records label, home of other relatively obscure but critically praised alternative acts at the time. They released one full-length album–Grieve–and then seemed to disappear into the ether that is CCM Obscurity. Although work was done on a second release, resulting in a handful of songs being recorded, eventually the members split off and formed other bands, including Laughing Stock and Slide, and apparently one called Dime Store Zombies, which is a band name I can totally get behind. Anyway, that, my dear readers, is all the information I’ve been able to glean from the interwebs about Sincerely Paul. Other than being able to buy a two-disc re-release of their first album, along with nuggets from what was to be their second album, which is the focus of this review.
I should point out that I purchased this double-disc set as a digital download off of Amazon (I’ve seen it on my Google Play site, and also for sale on CD Baby as well, in case you’re intrigued enough to check it out).
The music that Sincerely Paul produced was very dark Gothic alternative rock, much in the vein of Joy Division and Sisters Of Mercy. In that, it’s really no surprise that they weren’t known much in the general Christian market, as their fellow bands that explored this kind of music style—fellow Blonde Vinyl mates Dead Artist Syndrome and Michael Knott’s own L. S. Underground—were all but burned at the stake of CCM mediocrity. All’s the pity, as listening to Grieve now that it’s been re-released, it’s a very solid release, with some quality cuts of dark brooding guitar rock. Unfortunately, the original release is not one I can find easily (or cheaply), so I can’t compare the production quality on the Blonde Vinyl release to the two-disc release that I purchased. But, at least I can tell you that Grieve as a whole sound great, and has a nicely varied sound-scape to it. It’s something that I’m glad I got ahold of, as it adds a good ambiance to my dwelling, and is something I can add to my collection of darker Gothic rock that is a prominent fixture in my Music Vault. Disc One has the original Grieve release, while Disc Two has the recordings from the never-released second album, with a couple of live cuts as well. Overall, good release, great music, comes with Uncle NecRo’s seal of approval.