One of the longest-running indie/alternative bands in the Christian scene, The Choir emerged in the 1980s initially as Youth Choir, shortening the name after the release of one album and one EP. The band formed in 1983 and were instrumental in the early 80s Calvary Chapel scene in Southern California, that also included stalwarts like Undercover, Altar Boys, and 4-4-1.
Where some of their counterparts flirted with punk and harder alternative sounds, The Choir’s sound rarely ‘rocked’ so much as it created atmospheres and layers that have never been easily pigeonholed into any particular scene or sound and yet have toyed with dream pop, indie pop, and at times even shoegaze.
Kissers and Killers was a departure from previous albums in a number of ways. Most notably, it was the first album the band recorded without any label support (although it kind of re-surfaced later on R.E.X. as Speckled Bird, but that’s another story). Stylistically there were some clear changes as well. The band was starting to rock a bit more–bear in mind the album was following on the heels of the layered dreamscapes of the critically-acclaimed Circle Slide. Lyrically the album was also exploring new territory. While in the past, the band had focused largely on two topics in an even split: devotional tracks or romantic love songs, this album focused solely on romantic songs, and even dealt with unhealthy relationship dynamics like infatuation.
“Gripped” caught my ear the first time I heard it, in no small part due to long-time member Dan Michaels’ proficiency on the lyricon, an unusual electronic wind instrument. Enjoy!