Album Reviews


Album Reviews

CCM Magazine September 1994

by Bruce A. Brown

For those of you who wondered what Christian Rock's resident curmudgeon has been up to, Terry Taylor has re-grouped both his bands to release a whopping 26 songs (between two albums). Taylor writes mostly about how he views the church (that's us, folks) responding or not resonding to society. But he's always quick to first lay blame at his own doorstep. BibleLand opens with a track called "Broken Ladders to Glory," wherein Taylor refers to what might well be himself and his wife as a "ravaged nun" and a "greasy priest;" the flaws begin at home, in other words. In "The Bubble Bursts," Taylor issues a reminder to those who would deify him that "I let you down and I'll do it again" but asks forgiveness "If my humanity causes you some pain." On the title track, Terry uses the metaphor of a dilapidated religious theme park to poke contemporary Christianity in the eye; among other things, this twisted playground includes "a leper and a Christian book store" and "a Christian rock band by the Wailing Wall." To underscore the incisive lyrics, DA offers a musical attack that's extremely raw and grunge-y in spots; excellent engineering by Gene Eugene plays up the tripple guitar attack of Taylor, Greg Flesch and Jerry Chamberlain.

Zoom Daddy - well, it's just a leetle strange/weird/unusual (insert your own adjective here). Musically, the album veers between surf music from Mars and the soundtrack to a James Bond film. I've always thought of Terry's humor as floating somewhere between Monty Python and the National Enquirerl; song titles like "Nightmare at the Elk's Lodge," "Art Carney's Dream" and "Disco Love Grapes" would seem to support that hypothesis. But Taylor never lets satire get in the way of making some serious points. "God Went Bowling," for instance, while offering a silly set-up, nails you in the last verse - "We want an infinite meddler/A fix-it-quick man/But he gets off His hight horse/Gets dirt on His hands." "Some Friendly Advice" may be the apex of Taylor's mix of puns and poignancy; over a herky-jerky beat, Terry recites suggestions like "Read the Good Book/Try a sly hook/Go to confession/Learn a lesson" and of course, "Do your duty/Shake your booty." And to what does the title track refer? It's a clever metaphor for the Rapture, with the children's cry of "Olly Oxen Free" our trumpet call. So, this musical medicine comes Taylor-made in two flavors; choose the one you like best - either way, you'll feel better for having taken it.

True Tunes News Summer 1994

by John J Thompson

At some point it seems we could have stopped babbling about the brilliance of this band, but just not enough of you understand it, so here we go again.

Terry Taylor and Daniel Amos are back, right on scedule I might add, with another gem. It seems that as long as Christians do stupid things, Terry will keep writing. Although it's completely incogruent with my stated purpose in life, I almost hope the stupidity keeps coming, 'cuz I sure want this music to.

With a title like BibleLand, it's a safe bet that there's a bit of satire here. Sure 'nuff, this is a relentless pummeling of our country's Christians spending every effort to trivialize the majesty and glory of the Gospel. The title cut takes the listener on a twisted joy ride through a, hopefully imaginary, theme park featuring a dozen or so icons of pop Christianity. From the Christian rock band at the wailing wall, to the leper and the Christian bookstore, our joyfully cynical tour guide points out every sick attraction to the beautiful truth just behind the series of facades.

As usual with Terry Taylor, there's a lot more here than meets the eye. He also manages to include himself in those being mocked. Of course not every sing maintains the theme; it's not a total theme album. There are plenty of more straight-ahead tunes, but I think you get the point.

The music here is direct and aggressive. Overdriven, solid-body guitars dominate the sound, and the cute extras are spared more than was done on MotorCycle. The arrangements are world class, and if there were any justice in this world, these guys would be listed in the same critics' picks sections as Elvis Costello, Paul Westerburg, and Bob Mould. Unfortunately, after more than 15 years, it seems we get these guys all to ourselves. What a shame.

Because the interview in this issue of TTN goes into great detail, we'll only say here that BibleLand is typically brilliant Daniel Amos every cool kid should own. If you aren't hep to these guys, then you're just out of it. It's bands like this who make Christian music worth listening to. I know that might sound like a bit much, but it's true.

Cross Rhyhtms October 1, 1994

by Tony Cummings

Terry Taylor's team have explored everything from country rock to avant garde techno in their 20 odd years of existence. On this set the rock gospel veterans settle for scrunching guitar rock and pretty good it sounds too. As usual Mr Taylor's lyrics range from the truly incisive (the lampoon of those grotesque biblical theme parks that religious America have spawned) to the stream-of-consciousness incomprehensible. Some of the songs are intensely dark (try the grim "Low Crawls And High Times") though Taylor's wit and talent for a memorable image keeps you listening.

Reviews provided thanks to the writers, magazines and newspapers listed as well as fans that have helped us collect them - Richard Towry