The Christian Family
The Raw and Primitive Sound of The Christian Family
(Voodoo Rhythm Records)
While it would be easy enough to spill plenty of ink on the fact that The Christian Family is pretty evidently a kindred spirit to such popular “dirty shirt rock n’ roll” bands as The White Stripes, Boss Hog, Royal Trux, The Black Keys and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, actually making such comparisons is entirely too convenient and doesn’t actually do anyone any favors. Stripped even more to its essentials as the album is, in fact, only elevates the quality of of this debut, in fact; limited to an impossibly small drum kit (a kick drum and shakers), a very overdriven guitar and the voices of singer/drummer Sister Ann and singer/guitarist Brother Daniel, The Raw and Primitive Sound of… forces The Christian Family (and their songs, by extension), to either be good or be the single greatest waste of time in all recorded history. There’s no artifice to hide behind here – so there’s simply no choice for the band to either shine or burn and, after “Who’s Gonna Catch Me If I Fall” and “Mad-a-lyn” present that raw and stripped down sound as being the only one that the band makes for the early play on the album, listeners will find the prospect of settling in with them as easy as sinking into a mud bath at a high-end spa, or joining childhood friends for a dip with the frogs in an isolated, backwoods pond.
Simply said, the experience can be great – just be ready to take a shower when its all done.
As The Raw and Primitive Sound of… progresses and the songs have a chance to develop, they actually get even better; the first explosion of brilliance, “You Gotta Luv,” sees Brother Daniel step on a delay pedal and add some genuinely fantastic depth to the song, while his guitar playing actually gets close to that of Jon Spencer’s on “Oh My Don’t Cry,” and “Baby Wants More” swings into a hypnotic movement as it side-winds along.
As the album winds to a close, “I’ll Make You Cry” spontaneously shifts gears and completely changes the sound of the song with improved production which implies where The Christian Family may be headed on future releases, in so doing. There, seemingly without warning, Sister Ann’s percussion spontaneously grows depth as her kick drum introduces low end, and her added vocals offer more color above it. While previous cuts on the album were easy enough to appreciate, “I’ll Make You Cry” introduces a sense of verve which follows up with closer to pop song dynamics, and “I Got Problems” then closes out the proceedings, strongly. That ending is solid, but really owes a tremendous amount to the inroads cut by “I’ll Make You Cry.” The energy that song injects gives a little more punch to “Tornado” and “I Got Problems,” and is the bright spot that listeners will quietly hope is the thing which reappears on future releases from the group.
…And, after “I Got Problems” slams shut and listeners have had a chance to collect themselves, the’ll recognize just how good The Raw and Primitive Sound of The Christian Family is – and will be only too happy to indulge the album again; even if they are quietly hoping for the arrival of more music as soon as possible at the same time. How soon more music might arrive is up for debate, but that this band deserves a larger presentation is not; hand The Christian Family to Jon Spencer or to Patrick Carneyor John Goodmanson – to a producer with the talent to help this band realize their potential, and watch them shine. The Raw and Primitive Sound of The Christian Family illustrates that the band has come a long way on their own, all they need now is a little push to reach the next level. [Bill Adams]
The Raw and Primitive Sound of The Christian Family is out now. Buy it here, directly from Voodoo Rhythm Records.