Plymouth Brethren - PB

Saturday 1st September 1990
Plymouth Brethren - PB

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
LABEL: Independent
FORMAT: Cassette EP

Reviewed by James Attlee

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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