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The Christians: Deluxe Edition - The Christians

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Genre: Indie Rock & Punk / Artist: The Christians / Audio CD released 2012-04-30 at Cherry Red Records

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      28.10.2013 13:29
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      A thoroughly brilliant album with some fine songs, With elements of soul funk, new wave, rock, pop.

      Original 1987 Album remaster - Disc 1

      The Christians released their landmark debut album in 1987, it originally came out on Island records, with production by Laurie Latham. I was immediately taken aback at the originality power slick production and thoughtful songwriting, and of course lead singer Garry Christians powerful vocals, I was only around 9 or 10 years old when I first heard the album. Ever since then I've been smitten, and always loved this album. So full marks to Cherry Red, someone finally got round to remastering and expanding this classic underrated album. All I ever used to have was the old cassette back from 1987.
      Summary of the tracks -

      "Forgotten Town" Is back again. A great track as always with Henry Priestman's fabulous synth arrangements and song writing. Garry singing of living in a non descript broken and run down sink estate in 1980s England strikes unemployment riots poverty etc. Really thought provoking and poignant as ever.
      9/10
      "When The Fingers Point"
      Is a fascinating track about victimization and harassment. The track has a real culpable atmosphere and one can sense the feeling of of isolation and discrimination, slick cool arrangements and a distinct fluid funk style groove complete with trumpet and some good beats
      9/10

      "Born Again" Is a contemplative and poignant track with Garry's voice sounding particularly in fine form on here, some great heartfelt lyrics add a real depth and sophistication to the sound on here. Garry sings in a baritone style "I used to wake in the afternoon, when the sunshine finally cut thought the haze, I really don't remember that much I just know I wasted a thousand years. It's a very powerful song. 8/10
      "Ideal World" Starts out by addressing the problems around us and in the world at large. The lyrics are very much relevant in today's climate, and written with a hope and sincerity. A powerful tune with some deep soul searching. Some more expertly arranged grooves and mixed sounds are really prominent on here too. 8/10

      ... "And That,s Why" Fades in with a driving propulsive electro beat and string washes together with some distorted guitar chords, again beautifully crisp production, great vocals combine all these elements together cohesively, to create another great song 7.5/10
      "Hooverville" My favourite track. Some fine soundscapes really create an atmospheric electronic groove. Excellent song writing from Henry Priestman tell of the shanty town hardships of the great depression in 1920s New York. 10/10

      "One In A Million" Opens with a swirling groove and some fine singing (and laughing) from Garry, an elegant spanish guitar riff is the centrepoint of the melody again lovely harmonies are heard on here from the band. 7.5/10
      "Sad Songs" Is another classic track from the boys here. And in particular great imagery and deep song writing skill courtesy of Priestman, tell the fate of Suzy Solidor the French torch light singer of the 1940's amazingly melodic and poignant.
      10/10

      "Forgotten Town" (Dub version) Is an extended version of the track with some dub and funk elements mixed, the organ sound is a central figure in this compisition in,8/10
      "When The Fingers Point" 12" Likewise is another extended cut with some pronounced percussion manipulation and some vocal samples thrown in, an excellent deep melodic groove with good beats. Its essentially the same as the standard version but more electronic and dancelike, with some excellent drum and sound programming. The runout of the track features a long funky groove with ringing synth clangs 9/10

      "Why waltz" Is a revisit of the earlier track. Its slowed down and very much a waltz shuffle style, very loungy and relaxed, with a classy sax solo. A really nice late night shuffling beat add to the simple arrangement 8/10
      A thoroughly brilliant album with some fine songs, With elements of soul funk, new wave, rock, pop jazz and experimental electronics, its also so very eclectic in styles and does not fall into one specific genre, rather many. Superb and highly


      Disc 2


      The second Disc contains 18 tracks some unreleased and some rare B sides
      A great addition to an already near flawless original record, here is the second summary -

      "Man Oh Man" This song is a very soul sounding track with strong harmonies from Garry, the instrumentation is very spare, without any slick arrangements like on the original album. 7/10
      "Look Around" Again the track is very much rooted in 1970s soul style with lovely harmonies a sax solo and jangly guitar. The lyrics are bright and optimistic here 7.5/0

      "No Reason" No Reason Is a lovely jaunty and jangling melody. You can see the arrangements have similarities to the original album. Great singing and organs and keys on here. I feel this track could have been polished up production wise and fitted onto the original record. The lyrics deal with freedom and emancipation life issues etc. 8.5/10
      "The Losing Game" Is very much of a motown flavour with steady drums and trumpets. Some nice organs and harmonies can be heard here 7.5/10

      "Rebecca" Has some strong west indies percussion at the beginning and some rocking guitars, sounding a bit like an Ian Dury and the blockheads track initially. Some nice saxophone on here too 7.5/10 A nice rocking instrumental jam.
      "Every Town Waltz" As the title suggests the tune is very much of a slow soulful jazzy waltz and actually reworking of the funky "Save A Soul In Every Town" not as good but still a worthy addition to the compilation 7.5/10

      "Throw A Farewell Kiss" Starts ith astrong 1970s sounding soul harmony and avery simple drum machine backing good 7/10
      "Say It Isn't So" (Part One) Starts with sampled footsteps in the rain and a harmonica solo, and some synth bass and handclaps, also with vocals from Henry Priestman. There's also a funky accordion in the mix, some nice rocksteady drums pick up tempo now, its pretty eclectic and works well 8/10

      "Rocking Chair Blues" Starts with account in and some nifty hi hat work, again very jazzy and tinged with a blues flavour.The drum lines are very jazzy and some blues style guitar is high in the mix 7.5/10
      "Ideal World" (TR 808 Mix) As the title suggests is a downtempo simplified revisit of the classic original. A really nice simple TR 808 drum machine provides the groove and a lovely swelling synth string wash and accoustic guitar are the only other instruments 10/10 (a highlight on the set)

      "Forgotten Town" (Midtown Mix) Another rework of town. Again more industrial electro funk crashes atmospherics and clangs. This mix features very prominent trumpet sound in the mix classic industrial soul funk 9/10
      "Forgotten Town" (Uptown Mix) This time the mix is more instrumetally driven with the drum machine beats pounding along, whistling synth lines, and the classic electro cowbell sounds, the industrial groove again is classic 9/10

      "A Lover's Question" Is ajaunty upbeat sax driven jazzy number with some easy vocals 7/10
      Undecided (A Capella) Is a nice little swinging bass baritone led capella with just vocals, works well from the deep voice of the singers. 7/10

      "Harvest For The World" The famous Isley Bros reworking and a huge hit for the boys, the track is present and correct on here in all its accoustic glory 8/10
      "Harvest For The World" (Remix) This mix is very funky with big beats and bassy sounds, very much an electro pop sound not too much different from the original really 8/10

      "Small Axe" This little tune is an electro bluesy tune with some mellow lyrics and electric percussion. 8/10
      "Heading For A Hard Time" Is nice jazzy sax lead tune with some funky bass lines and organ sounds, the lyrics and voice are higher pitched also. A good feel good track to end the second set 8/10

      As a whole the album is incredible and as such you get 30 tracks on this set as well a booklet insert with lyrics liner notes and some photographs of the band highly Recommended. Pure classic.

      This review is also available on Ciao

      KHetherington ©

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  • Product Details

    "Disc #1 Tracklisting
    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
    10 Forgotten Town (12" Dub Version)
    11 When The Fingers Point (12" Remix)
    12 Why Waltz

    Disc #2 Tracklisting
    1 Man Oh Man
    2 Look Around
    3 No Reason
    4 The Losing Game
    5 Rebecca
    6 Every Town Waltz
    7 Throw A Farewell Kiss
    8 Say It Isn't So (Part One)
    9 Rocking Chair Blues
    10 Ideal World (Tr 808 Mix)
    11 Forgotten Town (Midtown Mix)
    12 Forgotten Town (Uptown Mix)
    13 A Lovers' Question
    14 Undecided (A Cappella)
    15 Harvest For The World
    16 Harvest For The World (Remix)
    17 Small Axe
    18 Heading For A Hard Time"