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321. Voices in Shadows – Youth Choir


Youth Choir

Back when members of the alternative Christian band The Choir were younger they were known as Youth Choir. They were part of the whole Southern California “Second Wave” of Jesus Music out of Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa. The same church that helped birth bands like Daniel Amos, Love Song and Mustard Seed Faith would a decade later introduce bands like the Lifesavors, Altar Boys, Undercover and a few years later, Youth Choir.

While the majority of the other bands would maintain a very evangelical (at times preachy) message with very upfront lyrics and messages, Youth Choir would begin as they have remained, a band with questions, doubts and struggles. This would also match the musical expression here with a European, atmospheric and swirling guitar sound reminiscent of early U2.

The line-up would last a few albums even though Steve Hindalong would not actually play drums until the following EP. His presence though was felt in his role and songwriter. It is Hindalong’s thoughtful and poetic approach to the art of songwriting that separated Youth Choir from their peers.

There are so many great songs on this album that highlighting only a few would do an injustice to the album as a whole, but a few must be recognized.  Someone Is Calling, Wounds of Young Heart and Why Are All the Children Crying remain timeless classics while “A Million Years” could be recorded today and sound just as beautiful and timely. It remains this reviewers all time favorite Youth Choir (The Choir) song and is a stunning hymn of eternal hope. Suffice it to say this a serious AYSO.

  1. Brian
    November 13, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    This is indeed an album you should own. It was such a fresh and dare I say innocent musical tone (no doubt due to it being an EP debut) but the lyrics were dark and searching. I lived it immediately. I still remember my joy when I saw this one come into a CD format.

    The song “A Million Years” speaks to me in a very special way and has remained in my musical rotation for close to 30 years….has it been that long???

  2. Shawn McLaughlin
    May 24, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Voices in Shadows was actually a full length album. The subsequent, Shades of Gray was the EP. “A Million Years” was on Voices in Shadows, however.

    Although I originally bought this because I thought I heard shades of R.E.M., it wasn’t long before I really noted the influence of bands like Cocteau Twins, Durutti Column, Comsat Angels, The Cure, The Chameleons UK, and The Church….. especially in Daugherty’s tonally dense guitar work. None of those bands caught my imagination the way The Choir did, as Daugherty and Hindalong added a strong commercial instinct to their work.

  3. Greenchili
    June 29, 2011 at 7:58 am

    “A Million Years”.. great song.. and a good album.

  4. John Rodermond
    March 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    The Choir is an all-time favourite of mine and on their full length debut as the Youth Choir, we saw a glimpse into what was to come.

    I picked this one up 20 some years ago in order to complete my collection of the Choir’s catalogue of music. In retrospect, I think I was hoping for more of what I had heard on their “Shades of Gray” EP but I was sorely disappointed.

    Perhaps if I had encountered Voices in Shadows closer to its release I may have received it better. Looking back, I wanted the impossible: I wanted Shades of Gray v1.0 -but instead I got its natural predecessor. Lyrically, it bears the same elements of future releases from the Choir but it was Steve Hindalong’s absense at the drums that I missed the most. Being a drummer myself, it tends to be what I hear first. And here the drum programs seem to blend together and have very little originality to distinguish one song from another.

    From what I can guess (based on what foolows on the EP), it seems that all the programming on Shadows may have been a short term means to an end, for which I’m grateful

    Even then, Derri’s guitar carried so much subtle emotion and ambience. His trademark tenor voice already layered into the mix carries so much feeling. The swirling guitars and pulsing bass of “Another Heart” is indicative of what’s coming.

    With the reworking of the song “Dreams” on 2010’s De-plumed, you can see how well the songs from this era were crafted and how well they translate to a new day with more maturity on the part of the band.

    As a loyal fan, the album has a pemanent home on my iPod and still gets regular rotation but doesn’t top the list of their best work for me so I find that its placement above other works by the Choir does not reflect my personal opinion (admittedly, its not MY list), but certainly a worthy candidate for inclusion in the top 500.

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