Sometimes I love those super-duper rightwing Christians. Yes, I know they are lousy dancers. I know they rarely produce great comedians, that they’re pro-war, and oppose climate change legislation, trade justice and debt relief, but sometimes they are useful. Without one rightwing Christian website denouncing them, I would never have rediscovered Christian rockers Project 86.
I had, I’m ashamed to say, ignored Project 86 since they left their Christian label citing “philosophical differences”. I thought that they had stopped making Christian music, when I found a right-wing Christian website denouncing them for just that. The lengthy essay, published by the staunchly conservative Evangel Society warned me that Project 86 should not be considered a Christian band anymore because their third album Truthless Heroes and it’s supporting website made political statements that were, among other things, anti-capitalist (shock!), opposed to the Iraq war (horror!), critical of George W Bush (hand me my shotgun!) and downright un-American.
Duly warned, I immediately got hold of the album. And I liked what I found so much that I wrote to thank the Society for turning me on to it (they did not reply). What I found was not a bunch of filthy scheming commies, but a band with political views that did not fit into the American mainstream, making intelligent, confrontational artistic statements that were still essentially Christian. And the Rest Will Follow, released late last year back on their Christian label, is the band’s fifth album and is frankly superb. People hankering after a Christian band that’s all Red Flag and Rage Against the Machine are going to be disappointed, but that’s not to say this is not a challenging record. Something We Can’t Be is a surprisingly gentle anthem to honestly in our witness while Sincerely, Ichabod… takes an uncompromising approach to the sinful nature (“Off with your head!”).
Not quite easy-listening, And The Rest Will Follow is hard-edged without sacrificing melody, startlingly original in places without sacrificing hooks, lyrically challenging while remaining staunchly orthodox. From the monster riff, worthy Led Zep, on My Will Be a Dead Man, to the thunderous roar to the prodigal of “Return! Return! Return!” on Subject to Change, the sheer volume of great material here should make other bands hang their heads in shame for resting on the laurels of just a few singles and a video. This is a confident, meaningful, likeable album, from a band at the height of its powers.