4•4•1 burst onto the SoCal new wave scene in 1984, releasing their debut album on Royal Commandment Records (soon to be re-named Blue Collar Records). The band formed in 1983 in Los Angeles County, diligently rehearsing in the garage of bassist/keyboardist Glenn Holland’s parents. They recorded a 4-song demo and subsequently sent out copies to area youth pastors. The unconventional move proved successful as they caught the attention of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, a large church that hosted lots of concerts for Christian new wave and early alternative bands.
While the band recorded two more albums, it’s their eponymous debut that has always impressed me the most with its popping bass lines, quirky keyboards and superb (if simplistic) songwriting. The whole album blends new wave with power pop and might appeal to fans of Men at Work or the Blow Monkeys. One of the standout tracks in my opinion is “Show Me.” The lyrics have always stuck with me, offering just the right amount of challenge to one’s spiritual walk:
What on earth are you doing for heaven’s sake?
Show me–with your life!
Tell me what you’re living for
While sadly, the band is a distant memory to most in the Christian indie scene today, their influence is quite pronounced. Ronnie Martin (Joy Electric, Dance House Children) and his brother Jason (Starflyer 59, Boy Voyage, DHC) were both outspoken fans. There’s a great Wikipedia entry on the band here.