The Prayer Chain - Shawl

Friday 1st October 1993
The Prayer Chain - Shawl
The Prayer Chain - Shawl

RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: 7010080720

Reviewed by James Lewis

This is the first full length album from the band following their well received EP and contains 12 tracks plus an untitled interlude between the last and penultimate tracks (Nirvana have got a lot to answer to for this recent rash of hidden tracks!). The album is co-produced by the band and Steve Hindalong who must be fast becoming the Christian answer to Daniel Lanois. The music here is varied, all with a definite indie feel to them ranging from the most mellow which recalls Steve's own band, The Choir, to the first track which has a riff which wouldn't be out of place on The Galactic Cowboys. There is a good deal of variety here but the album doesn't suffer from a lack of identity. Lyrically the band seem to be from the same school as The Choir (albeit a darker side), and like the aforementioned they teeter on being 'arty'. I like oblique lyrics but some of these leave me completely stumped. Not all are quite so shrouded in mystery however, and the general tone seems to be the voice of a person coming to terms with the need for wholeness and the gaping distance between him and it. My personal favourites here are "Never Enough" which comes over as a traditional spiritual given an indie workover, and "Like I Was" with its funky wah-wah. The vocals have a good indie style and the drummer is of the indie-dance crossover school. A fine album.

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