Musical Explorations #9: Flatfoot 56

Flatfoot 56 is a very interesting case. For one thing, they are one of the closest things I’ve ever heard to legitimate Christian rock. But sadly, not as much as I would hope.  

First of all, their musical style is great. Technically, the genre is known as Oi!, and it is composed of Celtic Rock, mostly Scottish but with a little Irish thrown in for good measure.

To be honest, I never knew they called themselves a Christian band. The Wikipedia article (the height of my research) says nothing about it. I’d listened to several hours of their music before I began to notice it. Not that that’s a bad thing. I think it’s a good thing, in fact. They’ve learned to make Christian music without using Jesus’ Name as musical spackle.  And anyone who successfully implements a piobaireachd into modern rock music deserves respect.

Sadly, my joy was not to last. The first two verses of their cover of Amazing Grace (absolutely worth a listen) were exceptionally well done, but their last “verse” consisted of that great temptation of Christian pop: vain repetition. The phrase “Praise God” was repeated for the duration of the verse. Talk about pegs in square holes.

We see the same problem in “Great and Marvelous.” The musical structure of the repetitious verse builds tension quite well, and the instrumental is foot-tapping. I wish I could say that the lyrics followed the musical progression – much like the American church, they remained where they were and progressed no further.

Despite these blights, I immensely enjoy their music.

True to their Celtic roots, they are certainly talented in weaving traditional Celtic music with more modern styles. Those kinds of songs are where I think they’ve successfully found how to make music to the glory of God without vain repetition.

They just haven’t gotten it all the way yet.

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One comment

  1. Nick House

    Well, we can’t all be perfect, but playing bagpipes gets you ten extra points.
    You should check out a band called The O.C. Supertones. They were the Christian ska band. Ska is sort of like punk mixed with reggae. Their music is kind of corny, but it’s good, very Christian stuff. The only caveat I have with them is an offhand diss at Confederates in “Prince of Peace.”–made me turn off the album the first time I listened. Besides that, it’s good. You should check out “Return of the Revolution”–I believe it’s the only Christian rock song to name-check Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards. Key Line: “We’ve put down the Bible and picked up the Playstation.”

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