The Brethren are Crispin Holland on guitar, vocals, words and music, and Jon Elvin on guitar, vocals and trumpet. The four tracks on this cassette show off their trademark close-blend vocals and clipped jazz-influenced phrasing. Much of the time they sing in unison - actually more difficult than singing harmonies in terms of getting perfectly matching voices - which makes the harmony lines even more pleasurable when they do come. Instrumentation is minimal - acoustic guitars relieved by Elvin's Chet Baker-influenced trumpet on "God Changes Man" - but the main concern here is voices and lyrics. The songs are Holland's comments and observations about the Christian life; confessions of failure and weakness, professions of trust and hope combined with well-aimed challenges to the wider Church. A spiritual Simon and Garfunkel, anybody? A hip Phil and John for the '90s - in any case a refreshing and promising debut. They sing on "When Will I Ever Learn": "When will I ever learn. . . that unfulled potential is dishonouring to you?" The potential is there - go for it, Brethren.
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