Crumbacher is a Christian new wave and synth pop band. They played their first show on New Year’s Eve in 1983. They released their first album INCANDESCENT in April of 1985 on Broken Records. It included such great songs as ‘Understudy’, ‘Infrared/X-Ray Eyes’, and ‘Jamie’. Their follow-up ESCAPE FROM THE FALLEN PLANET came out in 1986 on Frontline Records. The group’s roster was: Stephen Crumbacher (lead and backing vocals, keys), Dawn Wisner-Johnson (keys, backing vocals)¸ Jimmy Wisner (drums, backing vocals), and Dan Hohulin (guitars). In 2011 Frontline Records released a 25th Anniversary Edition, produced by Stephen and remastered by Chris Duke.
Like all of the songs ‘Solo Flight’ was written by Stephen. It is a cheery electronica instrumental that will put you in a good mood. ‘Crashlanded on Another Time Zone’ is a great pop/dance tune that finds the band grappling with their expulsion from Eden into a fallen, foreign land: “I’m just a stranger/Looking for an information source/My indicator’s been a little off course/I’ve got this feeling/I’m a hundred billion miles from home/And then my heart is crashlanded in another time zone/I’m just a stranger/Looking for an information source/Sailin’ a little bit off course”.
‘Identical Twins’ is an 80’s pop track. It is a modern take on the apostle Paul’s sentiments in Romans 7: “Why do I ever do what I don’t want to do?/Why can’t I always be the better side of me?/Christ is in my heart/You often ask me if I’m playin’ fair/I’m breakin’ all the rules in this deadly game of double solitaire/Sometimes I think I am identical twins/Each one tryin’ not to let the other one in/As they’re fighting for my life/I pray the better one wins”. ‘Name Droppers’ is an energetic electronic song that warns against taking God’s Name in vain”.
‘Royal Command Performance’ is a song encouraging all Christians to be troopers and give all they have in serving the Lord as aliens and strangers on the earth. ‘Tourist Trap’ is heavy musically and includes some good electric guitar work. The song speaks of the strong allure of earthly temptations: “Oh the straight and narrow way/It will be worth the temporary sacrifice/I’ve come to an oasis/But I’ll keep on holding out for paradise”.
‘Life of the Party’ is one of my favorites. It is a celebratory, upbeat, pop/dance song. I can see people working out to this one in the 1980’s wearing their head bands and jogging pants! The song reminds us that we are saved through Christ and that we have a great reward awaiting us in heaven. It is a message we should share with all: “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me/I once was lost, but now I’m found/Was blind, but now I see/And it all began with someone askin’/’Don’t you want to be the life of the party?” ‘Alma Mater/Graduating Class’ is over six minutes long and begins with a majestic feel to it both musically and vocally. The lyrics rejoice in the fact that deceased, loved believers go to heaven, but admit it is bittersweet for those still on earth: “I’m really gonna miss the graduating class/Their school days all went so fast.../They’re movin’ on to bigger and better things by far/I’m so glad of where they are”.
‘Interstellar Satellite’ is another terrific song. This CCM ballad was a radio hit. It finds the band longing for their heavenly home: “Oh, won’t You take me home/To the gold, celestial shore/I’m gonna be your interstellar satellite/Sail beyond the outer limits of the night/I’ll escape this fallen planet/To the everlasting Light”. This 25th Anniversary Edition of the album has one bonus track. It is a fine vocals only recording of ‘Alma Mater’ from the original recording sessions.
If the creators of Star Wars or Star Trek were to make a CCM album, this is what it would sound like, abundant with space metaphors. Stephen Crumbacher has a mellow, easy to listen to voice. The vocal harmonies on this album are amazing! The male and female vocals complement each other brilliantly as in groups such as Silverwind. ESCAPE FROM THE FALLEN PLANET reminds us that this world is not our eternal home. For believers, a better one awaits! That being said, how we live while on this earth does matter. I’m rating this CD 87%. For more info visit: www.frontlinerecords.us and www.crumbacher.com.