Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
It only seems like yesterday, such a short time ago, that the fashion to take the popular songs of the artist and scale them back from the more rock/pop dominated sound, then giving them a different history all together was almost everywhere, it sidled into the conscious and left its mark. The only issue being when something is fashionable it can leave the feeling of too much, everybody trying the same relentless thing. It perhaps came too much, too identical, the uniform of consistency the audience didn’t even know they needed and when they figured it out, it was too late; like ivy creeping up a wall, it was soon everywhere.
To re-imagine a piece of art, it needs to be special, it requires more love than most can ever afford to give; it should never be done for fashion, for the vogue and the cameras, it should be done with style, grace and the realisation that the music has more to say when imagined with a different perspective.
To take the greatest hits of a band and then give them a set of new clothes, to let them breathe the air of time passed is a compliment that should be seen as special, not part of the trend; it has to be unique, distinctive and singular; perhaps never to be repeated again and for The Christians, one of Liverpool’s finest ambassadors of music, the passion of the change is exclusive, proud and full of fulfilled promise.
It is arguably hard to hear a set of songs that you have loved all your life, allowed them to mix freely in your day to day existence and then see them undergo a radical sense of metamorphism into something new. However The Christians have never been anything but bold, courageous, and in Sings & Strings Greatest Hits Reimagined, the forthright lyrics, the playful artistry and confident anger are given a presentation of pure heart.
Alongside Garry Christian, Joey Ankrah and Neil Griffiths on the album is the ever talented Andy Steele and the Echo String Quartet, a line up to who so much praise can be delivered just by listening to their own sense of passion. When you have Jisun Youn, Lara Simpson, Carla Trejo, Sophie Winter and the Commander of the Bow, Vicky Mutch, joining in the action, then you know the time spent is going to be the epitome of change, it is going to be alluringly special.
In tracks such as the brilliant Forgotten Town, When The Fingers Point, Ideal World, the astonishing and haunting refrain of Hooverville and Harvest For the World, the embodiment of taking a song and holding it close is there for all to see and relish; however, place carefully the anthem that captures the thought of Liverpool itself, the superb Gerry and the Pacemakers track You’ll Never Walk Alone, and you have an album of experience that is tender, positive and intrepid, a true sense of the enormity of the band.
Sings & Strings Greatest Hits Reimagined is a classic encounter, one that has not bowed its head to craze or fashion, instead it is a true beating of a heart that has always given itself over to honest appreciation.
Ian D. Hall