Malcolm And The Mirrors – Red Alert (*Used-Vinyl, 1982, Maranatha! Music) Rob Watson of DA - Rare early CCM New Wave! RED11519
Vinyl: Near Mint
Jacket: VG+ lyrics sleeve
I almost called this review "After Alwyn", as Red Alert came out after Malcolm and Alwyn had gone their separate ways, both continuing to make amazing music and follow their callings. First, about M and A. Their two records were truly amazing. Fool's Wisdom is an eternal gem from the Jesus Music/ Calvary Chapel era that I and about a million other people will always love Fool's Wisdom Wildwall. The next album, Wildwall, isn't overall as strong, but it has a couple amazing songs, first and foremost, the anthemic ballad, "England Goodbye", which is almost like Barry McGuire's hit "Eve of Destruction" written by P.F. Sloan. Larry Norman produced an album of Alwyn Wall Band, and in the little-known double Myrrh sampler album, Jubilation, there's a Norman song called "Dear Malcolm, Dear Alwyn". See how witty that Wildwall title was, combining the names of Malcom Wild and Alwyn Wall, with the refrain, "the writing's on the Wildwall"?
But I digress. Maranatha (or some associated label imprint like A&S) released a stellar sampler album called "Back to the Rock," certainly rockier than the series of also good Marantha! albums, which introduced Malcolm and the Mirrors, along with other artists such as the Altar Boys and Undercover and Leslie Phillips (AKA Sam Phillips) to the wider world beyond Southern California (thank you from the other 49 states). Another album that did that was "What's Shakin'" a new wave sort of sampler on the MRC (Ministry Resource Center) label released in the mid-80s. That said, the subject matter of this disc is still unique. The title song is about Cheyenne Mountain, the failsafe missile base set up as a US defensive during the cold war. My favorite song on this disc is "She's Going to Go Through Changes". This is one of those Maranatha discs that seem to be different on side A and B, and some people may think the new wave on the flip side is too subtle and restrained. But so was most of the early new wave introduced on "Night Tracks" on Ted Turner's Superstation, and on fledgling MTV.
Anyway, this is, to my mind, another great album lost in time, and one which I greatly wish was on CD (a slightly later technology than records). If the world ever gets tired of decadence and glitz and overproduction, it might for some reason enter some post-apocalyptic phase where it longs for something innocent, and in that empty space can hear again simple, creative artists in a fresh and new way. Or, if you don't want to wait that long, you could hear it now.