Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Build A Castle (1986) - Undercover

Undercover, a Christian band formed in the early ‘80s, released their watershed album Branded in 1986. That album was a marked departure from earlier works Undercover, God Rules, and Boys and Girls Renounce The World on two fronts: first, new lead singer Sim Wilson’s resonant baritone infused a darker feel into the material than did Bill Walden’s cheery tone; second, the music had undergone a gradual transformation over the years from Oingo Boingo-esque new wave with naïve lyrics, to a darker, edgier approach. The introspection (Branded, Side 1) and despair (Branded, Side 2) reflected in the lyrics exemplify a practical, often somber, testament of faith.

In “Build A Castle,” Wilson muses that death claims even the wealthiest and most powerful of men. Life is ephemeral. Accordingly, Wilson assesses his life by asking a question which ambiguously could apply to a loved one, to God, or to both: ”Did I ever take the time to hold your hand? / To live before I die / and did I ever take the time / to look into your eyes?” Stirring synth strings and voice pads convey an acute sense of accountability. Guitarist Gym Nicholson punctuates throughout with squeals, trills and whinnies that agitate in urgency.

Instead of preaching to the choir, Undercover’s refreshing approach to evangelical music attests to their beliefs in a manner more pragmatic than dogmatic, asking rhetorical questions that actually require honest answers.

  • Not available from iTunes Music Store.
  • No comments: