Music Review: RESURRECTION BAND – Colours

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Resurrection Band - ColoursRESURRECTION BAND
Light Records

After getting the left foot of fellowship from Star Song Records, Chicago-based rock n’ roll troubadours Resurrection Band got signed to another gospel label–Light Records, a label that was, at the time, better remembered as the home of Andreae Crouch and the Sweet Comfort Band. It’s not like they had much of a choice in the matter; there were literally no labels in the Christian market that specialized in that new-fangled rock and/or roll music those rebellious kids were all into. They had to make due with getting lucky, and having a record executive experiencing a momentary lapse of reason and sign them. Or something like that.

After getting signed to Light Records, they recorded and released their third album, Colours. Colours goes for more of a straight-forward guitar-driven hard rock sound than from the previous two releases, yet maintains the raw quality to the music and writing that typifies the band’s style. What resulted was a more streamlined record, but certainly not a corporately produced rock record.

The album kicks off nicely with “Autograph”, which features an extended hard rock riff hook before Wendy Kaiser’s vocals kick in. It’s here I should point out that Colours is a solid front-to-back collection of hard rock, with no ballads to speak of. The closest they come to a “ballad” is penultimate cut, “Beggar In The Alleyway”, which is slower, yes, and does feature an acoustic guitar, but is a rock tune, make no mistake. For the majority of the time, you’re bopping your head along to some fast paced hard rock (“N.Y.C.”, “Amazing”, “American Dream”, “Benny & Sue”) and some mid-paced heavy rockers (“Colours”, “Hidden Man”, “City Streets” and album closer “The Struggle”), all featuring some of the tastiest guitar riffs and hooks with solid rhythms going, all with husband and wife duo Glen and Wendy Kaiser’s raspy and passionate vocals adding weight to the music. What really separated Resurrection Band’s brand of “Christian Rock”, though, was the fact that they weren’t afraid to sing about topics that were mainly avoided in the CCM market then or even since: homelessness, teenage pregnancy, depression, and others from a very solid Christian worldview, refusing to be one of those shiny-happy Christian bands that can get played on the radio. That, and their rock n’ roll was legit, something you can sneak into a mix of 70s-era AC/DC, Thin Lizzy and other hard rock staples of the time, and no one would bat an eye.

Overall, Colours is a classic hard rock album that I’m sure sounded amazing on vinyl, but I was quite a bit late in discovering Resurrection Band’s back catalogue. It’s a solid back-to-front collection of premium hard rock that, if you haven’t heard this one yet, you owe yourself to check it out sometime.


Music Review: RESURRECTION BAND – Rainbow’s End

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resurrection band - rainbow's endRESURRECTION BAND
Rainbow’s End
Star Song

Resurrection Band’s second release continued on in the heavy rock n’ roll style that they went with on their first studio release, which may have ended up being both a blessing and a curse simultaneously. For whatever reason, the label that took a chance on them on their first album, decided to drop the band after this release. I can’t really find any official reason why they were dropped; maybe it was a change of personnel at Star Song Records that decided they didn’t want such a radical sounding rock band on the label (wild-eyed speculation, as they would release the third Petra album on that label the same year…though it could be argued that Petra was less a “rock” band at that time, but I digress), maybe they got too many complaints from the normals because of the genuine bluesy hard rock style that evoked comparisons to Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane, and Canned Heat. Maybe Star Song wasn’t as satisfied with the quality of the album as the band was. I don’t know. Again, this is wild-eyed speculation on my part. Point is, after releasing Rainbow’s End, the band suddenly found themselves looking for another label.

As for the album itself, Rainbow’s End turned out to be a good, solid follow-up to their debut release. If there was a question of quality, maybe it has something to do with the kind-of thin production on this, but keep in mind Rainbow’s End was recorded on a small Christian label using late seventies technology. But, trust me when I say that the band makes up for that minor shortcoming in some very gritty, very passionate hard rock n’ roll.

Ten tracks are contained overall, with eight of them being some very tasty guitar-driven classic hard rock (“Midnight Son”, “Strongman”, “Afrikaans”, “Skyline”, “Rainbow’s End”, “Sacrifice Of Love”, “The Wolfsong” and “Everytime It Rains”) and two ballads (“Paint A Picture” and “Concert For A Queen”), the music is, without a doubt, a genuine rock album played by musicians that know what they’re doing, injecting an authenticity into a sea of superficial falseness. This is also the beginning of the band injecting politically-motivated lyrics, challenging the Christian listeners to examine our motivations as believers and putting the “love your neighbor” thing into practice. It’s probably what contributed to their sudden loss of a record label.

So, overall, as a follow-up to arguably one of the classic releases in Christian rock, Rainbow’s End really did take it to the next level with both the music and the message, daring to go beyond the standard Happy Christian Fun lyrics and delving into some rather heavy and dark themes. This was re-released on the band’s own Grrr Records in 2007, but I would recommend finding this on vinyl, as I would wager it would sound fantastic in its original format. Gads, I sound all hipster-y now.

Music Review: RESURRECTION BAND – Apendectomy

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1-28 - Music Review: RESURRECTION BAND - Apendectomy

Grrr Records

The Resurrection Band. Few Xian rock bands can be worthy of the word “legendary”, but though their humbleness may prevent them from saying so themselves, over the years so many have come forth to state how the band had inspired them through their music. They never compromised, either with the quality of the music, or the message of the Bible that they upheld. After going into semi-retirement in 1996, they decided to close up shop for good in 2000. But, before they did so, they recorded one more album as a send-off. That album was Apendectomy.

As the title (and rather amusing album artwork) suggests, rather than a final album of original material, the band deemed it necessary to give us a collection of re-recorded Rez songs done acoustically.

The album features acoustic renditions of songs from the majority of their extensive catalog: 1978’s Awaiting Your Reply (“Broken Promises”, “Irish Garden”), 1980’s Colours (“Colours”), 1982’s D. M. Z. (“I Need Your Love”, “So In Love With You”), 1984’s Hostage (“Souls For Hire”), 1985’s Between Heaven N’ Hell (“Shadows”, “2000”), 1988’s Silence Screams (“Rain Dance”), 1989’s Innocent Blood (“The House Is On Fire”, “Right On Time”), 1991’s Civil Rites (“Lovespeak”, “Lincoln’s Train”), and 1995’s Lament (“Across These Fields Reprise”). The albums that don’t get a representation on here are Rainbow’s End, Mommy Don’t Love Daddy Anymore, and Reach Of Love. I don’t know why, really. It wouldn’t have been that big of a reach to do a double album of acoustic renditions, with something from everything they’ve put out. But, I’m just a pseudo-journalist with way too much music and an equal amount of time on my hands to do these reviews for an obscure blog. Point is, these are the songs they picked to do acoustic renditions of, and that’s what they stuck with. It’s been nearly two decades since this was released. I’m pretty sure they’re not coming out with an explanation any time soon.

As far as the album goes, it’s not too bad; really, acoustic music isn’t exactly my thing, and I usually view releases like this as kind of a halfhearted release. You know, instead of making new material, just do a re-recording of your previous stuff, and instead of a “greatest hits” thing, you got a “greatest hits recorded like they were playing to a bunch of coffee house hipsters” thing. But, the songs are played rather well; as I mentioned on the Petra album where they essentially did the same thing, it does take talent to play something that’s normally done electrically and heavier and translate it into an acoustic song. And the musicians that make up Resurrection Band have always been very talented as musicians, both electrically and acoustically. Here, the songs are rendered very well, and produced equally as good. Especially on the albums where the band flirted with New Wave rock. Kind of prefer these takes over the keyboard pop rock, there. Sorry.

Overall, Ampendectomy is a decent collection of acoustically played Resurrection Band staples. As a final album before calling it a career, though, I’m thinking this may have more of a whimper than a bang. Not that it’s a bad album; I just get the nagging feeling that they had one more good album in them before riding off into the Chi-town sunset.