77s - Drowning With Land In Site

Monday 1st August 1994
77s - Drowning With Land In Site
77s - Drowning With Land In Site

RATING 4 4 4 4
LABEL: Myrrh 710053867

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

Let's start by paraphrasing an exceedingly wise chap, there's a time to crack up and clap up and there's a time to be down and play mean, dark and gloomy. Adam Again's 'Dig' or Tournequet's 'Psycho Surgery' are classic dark albums and have a special place in the Cummings' Dub Archive (album collection to you). 'Drowning With Land In Sight' is a dark album. It isn't a classic. The song about the Devil "Snake" is very, very good and pretty disturbing. The revival of Blind Willie Johnson's/Led Zeppelin's "Nobody's Fault But Mine" is pretty hot, with some seering, and I mean like branding iron baby, guitar work. But as an album it doesn't hold together. It's dark...downright depressing at times. There is fine musicianship while Mike Roe is as effecting a singer across multi tracks of grungey, turbulent guitar as he is with the acoustic Lost Dogs. But where 'Pray Naked' (otherwise known as the 77s') album which preceded this one was a genuine classic where rock met pop to produce an album of dazzling maturity, here the impression is of an immature band (ironic considering the 77s veteran status) trying too hard to be rad, cutting edge and alternative and instead being shallow and self-conscious. Another massive disappointment are the lyrics. I personally have always welcomed Mike Roe being prepared to express fear, pain and unbelief alongside his songs of faith and love. But here our dear brother has decided that the recording studio is the best place to articulate embittered self-pity about a soured relationship when he'd best be speaking it out to the Healer and forget the need for self-conscious "honesty" in art (in fact, the neurotic, obsessive emotional lust of love-gone-wrong can only be corrected perceived with a shaft of light). So then, a desperately disappointing album considering the 77s' belated yet well deserved recognition within the Christian music industry.

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.

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