STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 3591-246 LABEL: Vireo SPD1452 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RRP: £4.99
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
NME may not be fond of Christendom's latest attempt at pop stardom but who listens to that tired old rag these days anyway? PFR's latest release is the ultimate in Thatcherite-style consumer choice. The British EMI version of 'Great Lengths' replaces two of the most overt songs with three tracks from PFR's first two albums. The version available in your local Christian bookstore has eleven all new songs. So there's the dilemma, a trip to your local Virgin megastore will take a small step towards getting Christian music into the mainstream but can you live without "The Grace of God" and "It's You Jesus"? You pays your money and you takes your choice. It has to be said that these are two of the best songs on the album so if I was you, I'd get on down to CLC or somewhere and don't spare the horses!! This album is a huge leap forward from 'Goldie's Last Day". You'll have heard all the comparisons between PFR and The Beatles, Squeeze etc etc and there's no doubting that the band owe a debt to their influences but these are no mere copyists. There's real creativity taking place here. They write perfect pop/rock songs but 'Great Lengths' is more than a collection of three minute wonders. The album finds a band with important things to say to the listener. Their debut EMI single "Wonder Why" looks at a life which has fallen apart because the person fully understands the truth of the Christian life but stubbornly refuses to respond. The title song also questions why we live for self instead of God. Meanwhile, Keith Green's "Trials Turned To Gold" is given the full-on PFR rock'n'pop treatment and surpasses the original. Brilliant!! Musically, Mark Nash's drumming and Patrick Andrew's bass playing lay down a solid foundation while Joel Hanson's versatile voice slides and soars across the songs and his guitar playing has a fluid quality that adds an edge to PFR's sound. But it's the inspired production that makes this recording special. (Watch out for the out of control carousel that turns "Merry Go Round" into a classic.) The song that touches me most is the sad ballad "The love I know" which looks at the 1 Corinthians 13 love that should be at the centre of our relationships, where real forgiveness is experienced and love affirmed. An album that demonstrates the versatility of the three members of PFR. If you're looking for perfect pop in 1995, then look no further! You won't be disappointed!
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