Having just recorded a searing debut album, THE ELECTRIC REVIVAL will take Cross Rhythms by storm - though this year not a rainstorm. Neil Brennan reports.
Anyone who caught The Electric Revival's joyfully exhilarating set at Cross Rhythms '93 in a torrential downpour (fear not, this year all Cross Rhythms' performance areas go under cover) will recognise that TER are one of the hottest, Celtic-tinged, stadium rock bands to emerge for years. The Electric Revival's debut album, recorded at ICC studios, will be out soon while the joyful arm-punching celebration of a TER concert is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling events a Brit Christian rock fan can experience. This Farnborough-based 3 piece consists of Tim Sherrington (vocals, guitar), Daren Alder (bass) and Andy Smith (drums). Their debut album is 'Learning To Drown' cut in Eastboume under the "inspiring guidance of engineer Bruce Pont". During its recording their raw and gutsy sound grabbed the attention and appreciation of Tim Cobham of the Cobham Agency and Adrian Thompson of Split Level -now working at ICC as an administrator.
The album marks a key moment in TER's continuing evolution. Their growing army of admirers can rest safe in the knowledge that the bulk of the band's anthemic Celtic rock sound remains as punchy and powerful as ever. They've simply added an extra, mature dimension - the effects of marriage (Andy and Daren), impending marriage (Tim) and forthcoming fatherhood (Andy again!) no doubt!
"Some of the songs on the album are pretty much just as people will remember them from our gigs," Daren explains. "Others have changed quite a lot though, like 'Beautiful', which has been stripped down to just acoustic guitar, bass and a vocal. We've recorded new improved versions of 'Break My Heart' and 'Changing Everything' (the songs on their debut cassette single) and newer stuff like 'Breaking The Chains' and 'Not Said Before'. Even when recording, there were parts that were so charged that they made me cry."
So what about the concept of the album? "It's not a concept album as such," corrects Tim, "but it is trying to say something about our faith. The songs were chosen for good reasons. The idea behind the title 'Learning To Drown' is about our experience of God, hopes and dreams."
As for The Electric Revival's origins, Andy and Daren first met Tim in 1988 when his band of the time (Don't Think Twice) did a support gig for theirs (Original Delivery). The Andy/Daren duo went on to play with 33AD, while Tim was in the River Thieves - the first band to go from Greenbelt's fringe to mainstage in the same year (see CR9). The River Thieves were poised for further success, there was only one problem - Tim was the only Christian.
Daren takes up the tale: "At one point while working with 33AD, Andy and I were given a word that we would eventually end up working with someone called Tim. In turn, Tim had been told that something exciting would happen just after Greenbelt 92 and also knew that he should phone me but didn't know why. On the way home from Greenbelt, God confronted Tim and told him that he could get only so far in The River Thieves but could achieve much more elsewhere. He gave Tim a vision of the band and its name - The Electric Revival - and now he knew why to phone me! The rest, as they say, is history."
History bit duly done, what of the future? For three technocrats with well-paid, white collar jobs like TER even considering jacking them in for full time music ministry seems the height of insanity. Yet, if the door opens they'll go.
"We're not talking classic rock 'n' roll dream here," stresses Daren. "I just want to be available to play more, get our music heard and witness to more people." Tim talks animatedly of his ambition "to serve God as best as I can in any way He chooses to use me." First and last quotes go to Andy, who succinctly sums up the whole TER ethos with a wish "to take the band full time with a major label contract and get the Good News to as many people as possible. You see all of the other religions getting out and doing it - if we don't, there are going to be too many misguided souls. There are loads of people looking, just not enough people telling them where to look!"The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.