The Christians – The Christians (1987): Review

christians1

Produced by Laurie Latham
Label – Island

Lets’ face it; memorable British soul/pop albums make no “War And Peace” sized review book. Leave the soul to the Yanks, and the pop to the Brits was something that this reviewer was told many years ago by a top class DJ. And it’s true to say that since the sixties Motown revolution, the genre has always been guided from across the Atlantic and that British acts were always trying to play catch up. For the briefest period in the late 1980’s the U.K. had a couple of acts that could at least rival what the U.S was producing. Soul II Soul’s “Club Classics Vol. 1” and The Christians debut were at least competitive, but their introduction lacked pace and both would be gone by the start of the next decade.

christians

Formed in Liverpool in 1986, brothers Gary, Russell, and Roger Christian started as an a cappella trio and were joined by former It’s Immaterial front man and songwriter Henry Priestman . The ride was bumpy with a number of miss-firing singles, which brought about Roger Christian’s decision to bail out and record as a solo artist. The band trudged on and with the release of their breakthrough single, the vehement comment on Liverpool life that is “Forgotten Town” came chart recognition. The bands’ fortunes changed and their successful debut album contained no less than five hit singles; all top quality, effective, socially challenging and genuine. Each song is driven by strong melodies, slickly produced by Laurie Latham, with tons of smart vocal harmonies and lyrics that challenge rather than pacify. The highlights include the excellent “When The Finger Points”; the racially challenging “Ideal World”, and “Hooverville”, which interestingly compares the “boom and bust” policies of Margaret Thatcher’s’ British government, with those of great depression era U.S President Herbert Hoover. It’s great to hear sweet soul/pop music delivered with a social conscience and the band carry it off convincingly. It seems that the major mistake The Christians made was to not follow the album up until 3 years later, with the release of “Colours”, which although not quite as strong as this debut is still well worked and has strong songs.

“The Christians” stands as a great introduction to a vastly under-rated band.

8/10

Track Listing
1.”Forgotten Town”
2.”When the Fingers Point”
3.”Born Again”
4.”Ideal World”
5.”Save a Soul in Every Town”
6.”… And That’s Why”
7.”Hooverville”
8.”One in a Million”
9.”Sad Songs”

Forgotten Town

Hooverville

When The Finger Points

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3 responses to “The Christians – The Christians (1987): Review

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