ARGYLE PARK - MISGUIDED (CD, 1995, R.E.X.)
-Well cared for...complete.
-Original Issue - not a reissue / not remastered
Take yourself to a time in your life when everything came together, when for a single day, for a brief snapshot of your life, everything fell in line just for you. The concept that was Argyle Park is that moment in the history of Christian Industrial. For one brief moment in 1994, a who's who of a small, emerging niche scene got together to conceive what might be considered by some as the best electronic industrial to stand the test of time.
More of a consortium than a band, Argyle Park was in itself a concept that joined together to create a concept album. The roster of VIPs included members from bands such as Circle Of Dust, Klank, Chatterbox, Prong, Feotus, EDL, and Mortal. The influence of each artist can be heard in this association of perfection, with a major influence and primary production credit coming from Circle Of Dust front man Klay (AKA Scott Albert) under his pseudonym and current band name Celldweller. The album represents a critical piece of scene history, with it's release prior to, and perhaps contributing to, certain contributor's declaration of disassociation with the "Christian artist" label and associated implied stigma.
The message throughout the album is as heavy as the music. While the clichŽ is often abused, it is apparent that the material was ahead of its time. The songs express the complete range of what can be perceived as negative emotions, including hate, violence, anger, doubt, and violence.
The release was more than much of the "Christian" music industry could bare, as they tried to apply an "Amy Grant" silver lining to every fuzzed-out riff and distorted vocal. Indeed, much of the animosity on Misguided can be interpreted as directed towards the church, or those in the Christian faith. No punches are pulled as song after song takes lyrical stabs at hypocrisy. The release was in a no-win situation, with fans of the scene liking the music but distrusting the lyrics, and those who would embrace the music at face value shying away from the Christian label.
Part of the appeal of the album is its implied intimacy. The album is very personal, with the songs coming across as directed at a specific individual from a first person perspective. From "You make me Violent" to "You never showed me what I would face out there", the album is a balm for anyone who has been hurt through the actions of someone else. For those who could relate, the album is a welcome relief. For those who couldn't (which were perhaps some of who the album was directed at), it could be seen as a threat.
While the content and their implications are worth noting, the impact of the lyrics stand out on the album due to the exceptional quality of the music. The 18 tracks flow together seamlessly. A few tracks become favorites, but it's like singling out a specific brush stroke on a painting masterpiece. It's beautiful on its own, but experienced as part of the whole, its fantastic. The opening spoken word track sets the stage, and from there it's a wild ride filled with the crunch of guitars spread over and under layers of hard synth, samples and electronics. Beyond the first actual 18 tracks, track 26 contains what sounds like a conceptual studio discussion pertaining to the awesome techno/industrial 'Skin Shed' tracks, track 29 has some guy doing a poor job of singing a low quality version of T. Rex's 'Bang A Gong', and track 34 closes the album in similar fusion to the opening with a fuzzed out spoke word warning.
After all this praise for the album, you want it, right? Good luck. Your only hope is the second hand stores such as radrockers.com or ebay. Either way, expect to be shy no less than $50US. Having paid the bean, I will attest to the value. Argyle Park is the sum of all its parts. It is Klank. It is Circle of Dust. It is early Mortal. It was... Argyle Park. It will be missed.
--The Edge On-Line