Reviewed by Tony Cummings
In years past I've flown my journalistic colours to the mast and shouted from the rooftops (well, the pages of the old Buzz magazine the importance of Steve Taylor (I seem to be doing it again this issue!). But I confess it was with some trepidation that I first played this album. Despite all the Radio One exposure generated by friends in high places (Simon Mayo, not God) the 'secular' album Steve recorded with Chagall Guavara was, for me, a desperately disappointing venture. Would, I asked myself, "Squint' continue down that album's ill advised journey into the darker labyrinths of grunge? Would the rock layers again so dominate that Taylor's impassioned lyricism become buried in decibel? Could Steve recapture in '94 the same honed sharpness that had sliced through my heart and mind in 1983? Or was Steve destined to join the ranks of rock's Yesterday Men?' By play three of 'Squint' all was revealed. Steve was BACK displaying all the insight, wit and prophetic power of his lyricist's scalpel and all the intuitive rhythmic thrust of his streetwise musical sensibilities. The track that first thrilled my heart was not, as I have might have expected, one of his angry denouncements of the sins of our age but 'Jesus Is For Losers', a thrillingly Jesus-centred lyric that brought balm to this reviewer's spirit. Soon, other songs came into focus, the charming mid tempo 'The Finish Line', the strictly rockers 'Curses' (Steve always had a feel for a reggae groove) and then that incisive glimpse of the Western World gorging on its greed and idolatry in a dizzying mini rock-opera 'Cash Cow'. At its worst the world of CCM can be a shallow, inbred, unlovely thing where third rate talents play at pop star for an evangelical audience too insecure to risk contamination by rubbing shoulders with sinners. At best it remains a platform from which the prophet's voice can be heard. Steve Taylor's 'Squint' belongs to the latter category.
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