The Lighthouse
November 1993 Volume 2 Number 10
© 1993 by Polarized Publications
Page 12

For fans who have awaited Steve Taylor's return, Squint should not disappoint. In a modern rock/alternative vein, ala Chagall Guevara, he continues his lyrical assault on "Smug" Christians and has forged some more emotional, personally revealing, and cautionary tales that have grown much more metaphorical than his early work. He delivered on his promise to try almost anything on the album--it is the most diverse ever seen from Taylor, who naturally wrote and produced the project.

The album begins with "The Lament of Desmond R. G. Underwood-Frederick IV," an aggressive pseudo-industrial tune with edgy guitars that talks about a man that has been to a few too-many self-help groups. Desmond gets word from God that it's his time to go and is upset because he had "just found the lost key to my mythic life." Needless to say, Jesus wasn't the key to his life. "Bannerman" follows as maybe the catchiest song on the project, with some excellent backing guitar work by Jerry McPherson lending to a slightly popishrock feel. "Bannerman" is a tribute to the person that holds the "John 3:16" sign in the end-zone during football games.

"Smug" continues in the alternative rock format with a hard-hitting slam on Christians being proud and smug and accomplishing nothing worthwhile. In a slower, more alternative feel, "Jesus is for Losers" metaphorically tells his version of the story of Chagall with a stark reminder that we could never earn our salvation--Jesus died for all "losers." "The Finish Line" regains a bit of the edge, artfully describing the race of Christian faith as he observed some friends struggling. "The Moshing Floor" is another of the edgy tracks that points at parent's lack of concern and effort in caring for their children.

Next, the album takes a turn to the strange side. Taylor points another cautionary finger at today's lazy, wishy-washy Church in "Easy Listening" with a bizarre almost reggae sound. He takes a theoretical look at what today's Christians might sound like in 2044, in remembering the times when they "didn't hear none of this 'sacrifice' bull," when "the sermons were affirming," and when they felt "I'm ok, you're ok, we're ok." "Curses" continues the commentary on family disintegration begun in "The Moshing Floor" in a rough alternative setting. Taylor continues the Chagall story in "Sock Heaven," getting almost autobiographical through some awkwardly dry vocals. But, the strangest tune is saved for last, "Cash Cow (a rock opera in three small acts)," beginning as almost a monastery chant. With almost spoken lyrics, it is vaguely reminiscent of a sped-up "Harder to Believe" from I Predict 1990. Despite the strange, yet enjoyable musical setting, the lyrics caution against too much dependence on money.

Squint should appeal to fans of Chagall Guevara and that brand of alternative rock, and to people who like a little "bite" to their lyrics.

Roger Appelinski