Youth Choir released their first album in 1985 on Broken Records, and they would later change their name on their
next full-length release to the name we all know them as - The Choir. This review also combines their 1986 EP release,
Shades of Gray, since these albums were both made available on one disc in 2000. The Choir consisted of Derri Daugherty on vocals and guitars,
Steve Hindalong on drums and vocals, and Mike Sauerbrey on bass. Most have probably seen Steve Hindalong's name associated with several projects
as a producer (The Prayer Chain, The Waiting, Common Children, Morella's Forrest, City On A Hill, among others) and he co-wrote
the song "God of Wonders" which received a Dove Award for Song of the Year. Similarly, Derri Daugherty has produced for acts such as Twila Paris
and currently owns a recording studio, Neverland, in Tennessee.
The Choir is one of the many talented bands out there that never received the acclaim they deserved. After a dozen albums released by numerous
labels and having garnered many award nominations (including a Gramy nomination), many people are still not aware of this band's existence. CCM Magazine
even once stated that The Choir was "the best rock band in Christian music."
The band was not fully pleased with their debut album Voices in the Shadows due to
the drums being provided by a drum machine, which was a trademark sound found in the 80s; in fact, the only song on this album that features a real drum
sound is "15 Doors." The two-album collection begins clashing away with the very upbeat "Someone's Calling." Some of the songs seem to drag on too much with a chorus that
doesn't ease the anticipation of a recovery such as "Another World," "Dreams," and "Why Are All The Children Crying." At the same time, however, the record also
contains some truly classic tunes that you will want to play again and again. "Here in the Night" is probably one of my favorite
Choir songs of all time. The song refers to someone struggling with having to make a compromise to live a life they don't want, "Running from the images I try to
hide/ Living in the darkened place I live my life/ Looking out through windows to a brighter day/ Even though I want to leave, I have to
stay." "A Million Years" is a great, timeless ballad that was later used as the opening song for their first collection
compilation, Love Songs and Prayers.
The next portion of the disc is the EP, Shades of Gray, which was a limited release in 1986 on Shadow Records. I remember special
ordering the LP from a store a year later because I had never known that it even existed. The album opens with "Fade Into You," which is very
upbeat and emotional, and it remains another distinguished song from The Choir. The album moves to a favorite that bears a U2 sound,
"15 Doors." The song was inspired by a man in a hardware store who claimed that he knocked on 15 doors before finding someone who
would let him use their phone, according to Hindalong. "More Than Words" is a very atmospheric, dreamy track that doesn't have a
memorable chorus, while the Police-esque "Tears Don't Fall" is a great song that talks about compassion in life. The album closes
with "All Night Long," which has a very catchy rhythm that will recall the listener of Glass Tiger or Yes.
It's nice to hear these two albums all over again. Both of them share a style that is purely 80s. They may sound dated at times or make
the listener flashback to such movies as The Breakfast Club or Some Kind of Wonderful, but the music is fun, timeless,
energetic, and great for U2 or Police fans.
- Review date: 4/30/07, written by Wayne Myatt for Jesusfreakhideout.com