In the eighties when defiance to immediate authority (mostly teachers, parents and religious types) was a defining characteristic of punk, I switched allegiances and turned from staunch atheist to devout Christian. I can still recall hackles rising as I stomped though church in my combat boots and ratty army jacket. You see conversions are secretly messy affairs...
Well, I could talk theology or I could talk music…
Music it is then.
I learned immediately that to conservative Christians, music is God’s province and non-believers’ work is seen as a satanic incursion. Hence the record burnings – destroy what is not of God and only God will remain. And Pat Boone. Pat Boone’s name is still as synonymous with white Christian America’s cultural debasement as Quisling’s name is with treason. Well Christian Rock has continued to advocate for the Pat Boonification of popular culture. The Christian executives of Nashville (yup, they love mediocrity in a big way in that town) have taken Cool-Whip, strained it through a cheesecloth and added more high-fructose corn syrup. Such is their dedication that at one point Christian bookstores possessed a chart wherein hundreds of worldly bands could be lined up to find their Christian Rock facsimile.
So I, under some pressure, ridded myself of my so-called secular albums, (except the Violent Femmes) and bought a hundred Christian Rock LP’s in hopes of finding some spark of life in those grooves. They were few and far between. I kept a few of those records over the following decades for a clutch of reasons though hardly any deserve a wider audience. (Blogs being about ultra-narrow-casting it could be a fascinating niche.)
Southern California’s Lifesavors (a Mike Knott related band) should be considered by devotees of late seventies punk/new wave/mod obscurica. They have ripping hooks, bashing tempos and terrible lyrics (American power-was often weak on the word).
Side one of Us Kids is vintage pop-punk; beginning with the fifty-five second accusation “Where Are You Going?” - no song on side one breaks the two-minute mark! Songs like “Oh Yeah” sound as if Generation X had decamped to Orange County (and stocked up on apocalyptic tracts). Side two is the new wave set. “Operation” manages to be faux-English and cod-ska all at once, while “I Am” aims for power-pop. It’s all hummable but the bumper sticker theology grates more at lower speeds.boomp3.com
Illustrating their allegiance to the punk/new wave dynamic, the Lifesavors even recorded a problematic follow-up. On Dream Life the power-pop songs, like “Break in My Head” and “Physical”, are pillowier while the two ragers, “Glamour Girls” and “I’m Not”, are faster and meaner then anything on the debut. The lyrics have not improved (that did happen when Mike Knott took over) but musically it’s still grittier than most American power-pop of its time. That’s what I thought in ’86 and I remain convinced.boomp3.com
Download Dream Life