Chagall Guevara

Autographs For The Sick (AFTS)
Spring 1991 Volume 2 Issue 3
© 1991 Scott Russell
Page 4
Thanks to Dan Kennedy

With the new year, and (technically) the new decade, comes a long awaited disc from a few old friends. The debut album from Chagall Guevara came bustin' out on MCA records very recently with a cover-box made of recycled paper. This band, however, is not recycled. Steve Taylor (the innovator who once vowed to leave Christian music if he ever felt cramped), David Perkins (the producer behind a good number of Christian albums in the late 80's), and Lynn Nichols (perennial Christian musician, producer, composer) have teamed up with Mike Mead (drummer of Keaggy, Perkins and asundry studio sessions) and Wayne Jaynes (a bass player I'm not too familiar with) to form an eclectic collection of somewhat derivative yet powerfully unique tunes.

Keeping in mind that this IS a secular album, this self-titled debut is not unlike Taylor's I Predict 1990 in both sound and scope. Here the music is full and alive, driven by these "young veterans," and doesn't rely so heavily on Taylor's absolute direction. I hope he enjoys sharing the load because the album is a definite success.

Chagall Guevara starts loud and keeps moving, stopping off briefly to meet "The Wrong George" which almost made me wreck my car when I first heard it. I still laugh at this innocent but horribly frustrating case of mistaken identity captured (unwittingly?) on Dave Perkins' answering machine. From the manic "Escher's World" to the Dylanesque "Can't You Feel The Chains?" it's hard not to say "Can't you hear the influences?" Fans of Perkins' The Innocence, an obscure release on an even more obscure label [What? records with its four-release repertoire], will enjoy "Violent Blue" a heavy, rocker.

To round out the eclectic feel, some blues are featured with the driving "Play God" and the moving "I Need Somebody." Taylor's lyrical wit is pointed as ever on "Love Is A Dead Language." In the past, many have accused Taylor of cynicism, but I disagree--cynicism in its nature connotes hate, while Taylor uses some rather sarcastic venues to educate the self- saved Christian elite. There is no preaching here. While those of us who enjoyed "You've Been Bought" and "Color Code" may miss the direct punctiliousness of Taylor's pen, this band's talent may carry it to a much broader audience with a much deeper hurt. And all of us should support them in that endeavor!

Scott Russell