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Daniel Amos

Vox Humana


CCM Magazine 1984
by Bruce A. Brown

Vox Humana, the eagerly awaited third LP in Daniel Amos' Alarma! Chronicles, paints the "voice of the human" on a canvas of modern studio technology, with surprisingly warm and emotional results. "The Incredible Shrinking Man" is the cornerstone of Vox Humana in the same way "The Double" was in the previous Doppelganger. We're reminded that in the face of technology"s dominance and society's depersonalization of the human being, we're welcomed as unique individuals into God's presence.
In "Travelog" we meet a Person whose only communication with the outside world is through TV. "(It's the Eighties, So Where's Our) Rocket Packs" asks why, when we've progressed so far technologically, we haven't mastered the art of love. "Live and Let Live" attacks our complacency in the face of impending technology, decrying the church's willingness to conform to the world system. "When World's Collide" works on two levels-as a love song from man to woman and from the Heavenly Father to His children.
A catchy, pop tune destined to bring D.A. its highest radio recognition, "Home Permanent" ironically contains one of Terry Taylor's most stinging indictments of the way Christians perceive their personal witness. "As the World Turns" reminds us that "against the grain One often stands alone."
"It's Sick" reprises thoughts from earlier D.A. tunes such as "My Room." Taylor mentions examples of persecution recent enough to be fresh in all our minds--and chastises us for our apathy.
Danish reformer Soren Kierkegaard, Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, and Britons Malcolm Muggeridge and William Blake are all quoted on the inner sleeve of Vox Humana. Taylor's obvious affection for writers a bit ahead of their time comes through on the touching tribute "William Blake." The allegorical "She's All Heart" speaks of the conflict between the intellectual and emotional sides of our human nature.
Cleverly disguised as a trip to American Bandstand, "Dance Stop" condemns the nuclear arms escalation. "Sanctuary" makes a simple, concluding statement about entering into the peace of God.
D.A.'s liberal use of synthesizers and drum machines make Vox Humana difficult to categorize musically. The LP is rife with quotations from the Beatles, Beach Boys, and Buffalo Springfield. Taylor's quirky melodic hooks are reminiscent of Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac) and Ric Ocasek (The Cars).
Daniel Amos will inevitably be shoved into the broad classification of "new wave," with artists like the 77s and Steve Taylor. But call Vox Humana a classic pop album with state-of-the-studio production smarts. Innovative in scope and imaginative in execution, Vox Humana is a highly entertaining package from a band one step ahead of the cutting edge.