Column 5

May 22, 2007


This is the debut album for the band Column 5, a Christian synthpop band originated by Blake Crawford and based in Texas, with fellow band members Micah Banes and Darrin Davis. Beginning in 1999, Blake developed the backstory around which this concept album is based. And when I say developed, I mean he worked out an entire timeline and world view for these songs to be based around. That thorough and painstaking work has paid off, as the songs all flow together, forming a very cohesive story.

The basic gist of the story is this: Post World War III (circa 2079), a united world government has homogenized the whole world – with one accepted set of moral standards. This organization has also established the Public Church Administration, with a Government Issued Bible combining Humanism, Paganism and several other religions into one generic text. The story follows one person’s discovery of the Christian Underground, and the path it leads his life along, becoming a Chaplain in the military forces.

I’ve heard these songs go from early rough demo form to now the finished product, and all I can say is wow. The overall sound balance, quality and texture has been remarkably improved. The songs that seemed somewhat rough and uneven now flow a lot better, the balance between the (occasional) backing female vocals and the lead vocals has been smoothed out, and in general the album sounds very, very professional now.

Musically, the album shows elements of a harder EBM/Electro influence at times, but with a very deep synthpop core. In most of the songs the music is somewhat minimalistic, with the music serving as more of a backdrop for the vocals rather than being the main driving force of the song.

The artwork is very effective in illustrating the world in which the album is set, with several images on each page of the insert to go along with the songs on that page, each illustrating the idea behind the song. The overall effect is a bleak hopefulness, which may sound like a contradiction but makes sense when you see it.

Overall, though some may not like the idea of a concept album, I have found myself really enjoying them. And with the painstaking world-building effort that went into this album, it forms a fascinating picture of what could be. Very much worth a listen!

Jason Baker

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One comment

  1. might be into my friend if you dig this stuff myspace.com/trigjohnson

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