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Worthless Pursuit of Things On the Earth
Artist: Chris Taylor
Label: Rhythm House
Length: 10 tracks/49:00 minutes

Samples
Secret of the Universe
Chris Taylor had always the potential for something great. His lyrical bite was as hard hitting as the rock sound of his band Love Coma and his solo debut “down goes the day” was tasty if not commercially accessible. And so Rhythm Records have brought in Mark Robertson and Rick Elias to give Taylor the sound that would bring his poetic thoughtfulness to a much wider audience. No doubt economics was their driving force but sometimes economics can move in mysterious ways. And so with this. Taylor’s raucous and stunning vocals get the perfect foil with the sound that the Ragamuffins have found for Taylor. Indeed the band is the Ragamuffins and it has them able to be a little more hard hitting than on their own work. Of course they are up for it. Indeed this might be  Robertson’s hello to a future of record production. We’ve heard his work before but something tells me that he’ll be an omnipresent name on the credits of Christian rock albums as the new millennium unfolds.

The packaging of this album is a fascinating collage of photos and lyrics and notes and what all else. It could keep you amazed for hours. And so the music it covers. This album hits you with an immediate one-two punch of a heavy weight champion but underneath the punches there are a whole load of nimble lyrical and musical intrigues to keep you coming back time and again. There is little doubt that Taylor is rooted in the U2 and Simple Minds kind of rock history. But though the phrasing, a melody gives hints of that lineage. Do not think for a moment that this album sits anymore out of date than whatever Bono and his mates are currently concocting in a Dublin studio. It’s rock but not antiquated. It’s right up to date and there are moments as in Bleeding Hearts Club when it is almost a 21st century southern boogie through a sweet treat of a Mississippi mud pie.

Worthwhile pursuit of things of heaven! 

Steve Stockman 5/29/2000

For his sophomore release, Chris Taylor has recruited the production talents of Ragamuffins' Mark Robertson and Rick Elias, and it has certainly paid off in this collection of rootsy pop-rock songs.

Chris Taylor has a strong melodic sensibility which he uses to good effect in shaping the hooks which dominate a number of these tracks. Musically, the album shows a well rounded mix of influences from U2 to alt. country to classic rock, and these combine with vocals which range from conspiratorial whispers to emotional proclamations. The vocals sometimes seem a little over-strained and Taylor's range isn't huge, but they are generally used to good effect.

The lyrics are hard to find in the busy sleeve design, but are much more central to the album than its sleeve. As the title suggests the focus of the album is the struggle of searching for things of heaven while living amongst the things of earth. Taylor manages to produce a set of songs which exhort people to look past their struggles without oversimplifying those struggles.

A well produced album that deserves to bring Taylor a lot more attention. With all the time that former Love Come bandmate Matt Slocum has received in the limelight, perhaps there's some space for Taylor to at least enjoy a little of it.

James Stewart  06/27/2000


 

 

   
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