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Voices in Shadows/Shades of Grey
Artist: Youth Choir 
Label: M8 Distribution 
Length: 14 tracks

I’m not sure if Steve Hindalong and Derri Daughtery cringe when they look at the photography from their first three albums, but maybe they should. For their debut, Voices in Shadows, they went for the British new-wave look, clean-cut and nicely dressed. But upon the release of Shades of Grey, the E.P. follow-up, the two of them grew mullets, and by the time Diamonds and Rain came out, they’d begun using V05 pink hairspray to make their hair as "big" as possible. Thank goodness those days are over.

M8 Distribution has done us the favour of making The Choir’s first two albums available on one CD, complete with all the original artwork and photography. Voices in Shadows/Shades of Grey is actually one of the better put together re-releases in M8’s canon (aside from, of course, the Daniel Amos Alarma! Chronicles book set, which is above reproach), with full lyrics to every song, and the aforementioned original artwork. Also, thankfully, that obnoxious gold border the label was in the habit of putting around their covers is absent.

As for the music…while the band’s early material never quite reached the magnitude of such classics as Circle Slide and Speckled Bird, there are quite a few excellent songs among these two albums. "Someone’s Calling," for example, which opens Voices in Shadows, is an excellent minor-key rocker which has a definite sense of urgency. "A Million Years" and "Fade Into You" are two excellent early worship songs, and "All Night Long" may well be the band’s first "twisted love song."

All in all, this disc is a good buy for fans of The Choir (I don’t think Voices was previously available on CD), as well as fans of early 80s alternative and those who want to learn the history of Christian rock. 

Michial Farmer 9/7/2000


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