Cross Rhythms Pick Of The Pile February/March

Cross Rhythms
February/March 1994, Volume 2, Issue 19
© 1994 Cornerstone House
Pages 61

Steve Taylor
Warner Alliance 4158 CD/Cass Book (Nelson Word)

In years past I've flown my journalistic colors 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 If 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 Guevara was, for me, a desperately disappointing venture. Would, I asked myself, Squint continue down the 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 street wise musical sensibilities. The track that first thrilled my heart was not, as I might have expected, one of his angry denouncements of the sings of our age but "Jesus Is For Losers", a thrillingly Jesus-centered lyric that brought balm to this reviewer's spirit. Soon other songs came into focus, the churning mid tempo "The Finish Line", the strictly rockers "Curses" (Steve always had a feel for a reggae groove) and than 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.

[Rating: 10/10 - Indispensable]

Tony Cummings