Chagall Guevara - Chagall Guevara

Sunday 1st December 1991
Chagall Guevara - Chagall Guevara
Chagall Guevara - Chagall Guevara

RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 16189-17183
LABEL: MCA 10170

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

When I saw the band playing a warehouse gig in Nashville in 1990 just after they'd landed the big one (an MCA deal), I caught a full throttle blast of what the Chagalls were about. Pigeon holers would call it back to basics. A few months before I'd reviewed Bowie's Tin Machine' album for a mainstream magazine and enjoyed the cathartic cleansing of no thrills guitar rock, pumped up, mean, raw and heavy with none of the high tech fussiness that seemed to be anaesthetizing a lot of contemporary music. Now the same rawness finds its way onto the Chagall's album with the band's sound hinging around Dave Perkins' mean and mighty axe which heaves and howls like a bawling banshee. With Lynn Nichols adding his rhythm guitar six pennyworth there's enough fret fire to send even head bangers into apoplexy while bassman Wade Jaynes and drummer Mike Mead keep it tight and rocking. But this album is not the killer we were hoping for. Dave Perkins' guitar work becomes downright exhausting over an album length and the same kind of decible-fatique that keeps his The Innocence' 87 album on the shelf and off the player now threatens to grip me by song seven of this. Maybe the biggest problem is that the axe hero pyrotechnics don't make the easiest of platforms for lyricist/vocalist Steve Taylor. Here we have an enormous talent, whose incisive stabs at the jugular of smug evangelicalism thrilled us from "I Want To Be A Clone' ('83) right on through to 'I Predict 1990' ('88). Steve's lyrics are still masterly and "Candy Guru" with its withering indictment of false prophets or "Violent Blue" where broken vows and changed ideas are lashed. But often their impact are drowned and their edge dulled in the turbulent vortex of sound that Perkins and brothers kick up. With such fine songwriting on offer here I'll keep digging. But I feel Chagall Guevara will need to rethink if they're to get that hit their abounding talent deserves.

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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