It's amazing to look back on the history of bands such as the 77's. Despite forming in 1979, they are still going strong (they are even writing for a new 2016 release). These veterans of Christian Alternative Rock have changed sounds many times over the years, and going through their material clearly shows it.
Despite being released in 1982, this record mostly contains shades of the 60's and 70's. A New Wave/Alt Rock mix, it sounds like the Beatles and the Ramones discovered keyboards and synthesizers from the future. The album doesen't quite have the originality or reputation as their self-titled album from 1987, but it has quite enough great songs and interesting character to make it an excellent release.
The album starts with the song that got quite a bit of radio play back in the day, "A Different Kind Of Light." Shimmery guitar strums fill the song as musical genius Michael Roe sings about how what the world calls light isn't truly the Light of God. In "How Can You Love," drummer Mark Proctor sings about a girl searching for love, saying "How can you love, if you haven't got love in your heart?" and telling the listener to "turn to the Author of love." The third track, "It's So Sad," is the best track on the album and has an offbeat snare and odd synth riff, which eventually wanders its way to a desperate portion of music, finishing with the wandering music once again. The song speaks from the perspective of a man trying to convince someone to turn from their sinful ways, claiming how it's so sad he won't turn to Jesus. "Falling Down A Hole" contains many outdated references to spiritual problems afflicting society back in the 80's.
The whole album's musical scope does sound quite dated throughout. "Someone New" is a song about a man being changed from his old sinful ways into someone new. The track was redone on All Fall Down, and it was redone much better in my opinion. The next track is "Renaissance Man." The song is about the foolishness of men who believe in evolution. It's a good song, with lots of interesting guitar and synth bouncing around each other throughout. Next is the punk rocker and title track, "Ping Pong Over The Abyss." This is another strong highlight, with an intense rock sound and message, and a great guitar solo. "Time is Slipping Away" is a song where the music perfectly complements the message that we don't have much time left before Jesus comes back. After that comes a cover of a gospel song called "Denomination Blues," originally recorded in 1927 by Washington Philips. The rock treatment the song gets is done very nicely. Roe has had quite the skills to show from the first album. This song ends the original record, but the CD and digital releases contain a number of live tracks and demos from the album added to the end. The gem within these is the demo of "Ping Pong." The guitars are much more raw and in-your-face.
This album is a great look at the early work of a group of musical veterans. Despite its dated sound, it has a type of timeless quality that makes it quite appealing.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 12/11/15, written by Jackson Thomas Sloan for Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Exit Records
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