Let me first be honest with you, I was one of the unlucky many, born or at least born again too late to know the pure wonder of The Prayer Chain. What I do know, is that they were pioneers of the now budding independent Christian scene, pushing the envelope and being the saving grace for any respectable music fan. But even in my lagging stupor, a good song is still a good song and Audio Lab Records is toasting these great song makers with Salutations: A Tribute To The Prayer Chain.
Viva Voce begins in their normal rare form with "Manta Rae" which was rare in the first place as Carrie Crash's version of "Loverboy" is fair rock. Glisten's "Mercury" makes a great track greater while "Bendy Line" from Brian McSweeney is good but seems too close to the original whereas Novice's edition of "Waterdog" is a decent dirtier change. Luxury's version of "Sun Stoned" apparently isn't much different either while Michael Pritzl of The Violet Burning's "Sky High" is, as you would guess, amazing. This is more along the lines of his new Gravity Show project though. Norika brings a swinging version of "The Hollow" while The Evoka Project modernizes the formerly almost hair metal "Crawl." Canary's "Antarctica" is a worthy slow-moving track as The Northern Lights' "Chatterbox" is noble rock. For Lack Of Heroes' "Fifty-Eight" is another updated version while Ed Lamoso of Dear Ephesus ends things with a folk rock-flavored Jesus-filled "I Believe."
Tribute albums will always and forever be a double-edged sword. Half the crowd will hate you for changing a classic while the other half will hate you for making it sound too much alike. But whatever your case may be, Audio Lab has put out good music, and that's all that it comes down to. For the gang that wants the old PC back, sorry; they're going strong and moving on. Lead vocalist Tim Taber now runs the amazing Floodgate Records while heading up California's own El Matador, while Eric Campuzano, Andrew Pricket, and Wayne Everett produce beautiful things, own the best indie label in the biz, Northern Records and have played in The Lassie Foundation, Charity Empressa, Starflyer 59, and much more respectively. But for those who want to go back to their roots, or at least get a feel for what a rock hero is all about, pick up Salutations and help the world salute The Prayer Chain, a band that has given so much but taken way less.- Review date: 8/25/02, written by Blake Garris
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