340. Things Break – elim Hall

THINGS BREAK (1986)

elim Hall

Out of the dreary world that is Nashville’s Christian music machine came a band that defied the streotypes. 1986 was before any of the major labels really discovered any artists on their own. usually a band would make several successful records for small, struggling, independent labels and once all the hard work was done, the big guys would come along and steal them away.

Bitter much?

Anyway, it was shocking to see a debut on a major Christian label that was so creative original and fully non-CCM sounding. Based out of Canada and discovered (and later produced) by Gary Chapman through a mutual friend, elim Hall was signed to Reunion Records (Kathy Trocolli, Michael W Smith) and became a hit…at least amongst critics and alternative music fans (both of them).

The legit music experiment lasted exactly one record before returning to make another Michael W Smith Box Set. But that one record remains fresh, real, honest and purely original. The only thing close in Christian music would have been In-3D and Vector (first album) and in mainstream music a handful of artists, most obviously The police. The latter because of the use of the ska styled guitar rhythms The Police made popular.

Things were also unique in the lyrical world as the songs didn’t contain the normal CCM fodder. Death. loss, truth, science and longing for relief for this world’s plight are all present in this “not so sweet” record. the band would later record another independent project but it never saw the light of day in retail outlets. There is no reason for this great release to be relegated to the trash bin of CCM history, it is must AYSO.

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  1. aarjayaitch
    October 28, 2010 at 4:17 am

    It is amazing how many albums are showing up in this list that I have loved for years but that no one else I know has even heard of, much less heard and liked. This one would probably be in my personal top 50 (or even top 25.) I look forward eagerly to the rest of your countdown. Thanks for doing this.

  2. October 28, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I loved this album and still listen to it occasionally. I always hoped they’d make more music.

  3. Shawn McLaughlin
    October 28, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    One of the members of this band succumbed to cancer a while back. I believe that is part of the reason they never recorded anything else.

  4. November 13, 2010 at 3:37 am

    Saw them open for Big Picture MWS. Cool.

    • December 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm

      I was standing right next to you… sing out “I’ve got Hypothermia”
      I have this tape in my car at the moment… no kidding.

    • Greenchili
      June 17, 2011 at 8:16 am

      Really? I remember Billy Sprague opening the Big Picture concert I went to.

  5. Jerrid
    November 17, 2010 at 3:57 am

    I enjoyed this album when it came out, but to me it now sounds horribly dated. I would have liked to have heard more from them.

  6. steve
    May 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    This was a foundational album in my youth… At the time I loved any and all music, from Bloodgood to Steve Green… But I had a few albums that I thought were the bees knees yet most other people I knew thought were terrible… And that’s when I started to realize that my tastes were along “alternative” lines.

    This album, along with MATW and Daniel Amos Vox Humana, were the three that stood out…

    And Elim Hall came with the experience of going to Expo86 to see them and MWS (both equally at the time) and hearing fans boo Elim Hall because of the experimental guitar sounds they were making… I couldn’t believe it… I left bewildered, and furthered in my youthful exploration to find my tastes in music…

  7. John Rodermond
    March 2, 2012 at 2:28 am

    I’m utterly shocked and amazed to see this album appear on “the list”!

    Like others commenting before me, I thought I was the only one who had ever heard of these guys let alone brought this stray home. Things Break may be somewhat dated but I continue to spin this album from time to time.

    “My Flag Always Fades” remains such a beautiful lament to this day.

    I recall that as exciting as it was to hear something as truly fresh and original as Things Break, it was even more exciting when I discovered that this album was recorded by fellow Canadians.

    I eagerly awaited a follow up and when nothing was forthcoming I wrote to the band and learned they had independently recorded the “Let It Thrive”. I replied as quick as I could and sent the requisite 10 bucks and the cassette arrived a week later with a personal, hand written letter from Glen Teeple thanking me for my interest and letting me know the struggles the band had experienced and their uncertain future.

    Let It Thrive is just as unique (quirky) as Things Break and definitely deserves attention. It contains one of the oddest songs I’ve ever heard called “Terry and the Pirates.”. You like quirky? Track down “A Silent Dove in a Distant Land” – the time signature changes border on erratic. “You and Me”,”Too Much of a Good Thing” and “Found My Way Again” are other personal favourites but it is the title track “Let It Thrive” that should have been a hit and produced a more reliable recording future for the guys. To my knowledge this recording has never been made available in CD format.

    A lot of what elim Hall created was not radio friendly and I think that may have contributed to their demise. Alas, we must enjoy what little we got to hear from elim Hall. I wish the surviving members well wherever they may be.

  8. Jack Blutj
    September 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Two of the guys live near me and one of them is one of my good friends. They both continue to write music and record and contribute to different projects. They still “got it” too. Both guys have children and are good husbands and fathers too. Things break was and still is my favorite ccm tape.

  9. Alex
    April 11, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I never heard this album until picking it up at a garage sale for a dollar a few years ago. Fell in love with it right away. In my opinion, Reunion epic failed in promoting this album by not cross listing it with a Canadian label like Attic. I’m sure they would have gotten a lot of radio play in the mid 80s in Ontario on CFTR, CFNY, and the like!

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