Picks and Pans Review: The Christians

updated 04/04/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/04/1988 01:00AM

The Christians

Don't touch that dial. If a song by the Christians should come on your radio, and you think you're about to hear the closing prayer, ignore what may be your initial impulse to switch the station. There is a distinctive, disconcerting attractiveness to the material on the first U. S. album from this English pop-soul trio from Liverpool, the brothers Garry and Russell Christian and Henry Priestman (formerly of It's Immaterial). Most of the compositions are derivative or vapid. They plod along for a while with off-putting, jangly keyboards mincing around or cheesy, pseudo-brash arrangements blaring out. Then, half-way through the song, a welcome oasis will come along. Suddenly a haunting musical phrase will emerge (as on Forgotten Town)—or vocal harmonies worthy of the Impressions will burst through like the sun through thick cloud cover. Those moments when the Christians' swirling chaos unexpectedly coalesces into beauty aren't as frequent as they would be in an ideal world, but they're well worth waiting for. (Island)

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