328. No Burning Out – Semaja
NO BURNING OUT (1984)
Christian rock label, Refuge Records, made a habit of finding European Christian rock bands and importing their releases to the States. One of the several that made a decent impact was German band, Semaja. Their second, and final, studio album turned out to be a rather well received album with radio embracing the single “Hey Friend.” There was a later released live album.
The reader can YouTube the band and watch some of their live performances which show a very tight and talented band. Their first release, Hear My Cry, was never released in the US and is considered a collectors item. I actually own two versions of the album in question. One entirely in English and one with three songs in their native German. There is also an entirely German version as well.
There are touches of world music, progressive rock and new wave. The band’s leader had previously been a member of classic Jesus Rock band Eden, a German progressive rock band. The avoided the normal trapping of christian music in Europe and presented themselves as a mainstream band though lyrically there is no doubt about the band beliefs and worldview.
The opening track and single, Her Friend, has the “Eddy Grant” type feel and the world music percussion add a more pop feel to the big rock chorus. Green land is has a heavy reggae feel with great keyboard accentuating the guitar and drum interplay. “He’s Real” sound like something that could have been on with In 3D album. The same sort of feel can be heard on the title track. When the band slows things down there is a bit of an Edin-Adahl feel to the ballads.
After a quirky instrumental and Genesis influenced “Karin,” the album closes with a power ballad that would feel right at home on a REO Speedwagon album from the same era, or maybe from DeGarmo & Key’s “This Time Thru.”
Like many of the great imports from the era, there is some getting used to the vocals with the interpretative difficulties, but Semaja stands above most in that department as well as in the musicianship. This would qualify as an AYSO, along with the first release if it can be found.