Guardian began as the band Fusion in 1982. In 1988 after various member changes, eventually they ended up calling themselves Guardian. In 1989 they released their first album, FIRST WATCH. It was produced by Oz Fox of Stryper. Guardian toured in the U.S. and in Japan. BOTTLE ROCKET was the group’s sixth English language studio album. It was put out in 1997 on Myrrh Records. Group members were: Jamie Rowe (vocals), Tony Palacios (guitar), David Bach (bass), and Karl Ney (drums). The album was produced by Steve Taylor, who also co-wrote ten of the fourteen songs on the album, including the title track. Jim Chaffee served as executive producer.
‘Are We Feeling Comfortable Yet?’ is the hard rock opening track. It begins with these words of invitation: “Welcome, dear listener/Are you comfortable?/Put your feet up, close your eyes/Let your senses dull, float like a beach ball/Wearing cordless phones/Let the tide take you/Groove to the mellow tones”. The song is sarcastic as is the case with many Steve Taylor lyrics. The title track, ‘Bottle Rocket’, is about Christ’s power working in and through us: “The light of Jesus can’t be overcome/I’ve got a bottle rocket (3X)/Got a little light to testify/No power’s gonna block it/No darkness gonna stop it/I’ve got a bottle rocket/Gonna let it fly/Let it fly”. John Painter plays the theremin on this rock song.
Lyrically, ‘Coffee Can’ reminds me of Newsboys’ ‘Breakfast’. The Guardian song here reminds us our good works don’t gain us eternal life: “Pull that bucket over/Let me see your registration/You’ll be questioned at the station by a good cop/bad cop/If they find you guilty they’ll impound your can in Hades/Where the grounded lads and ladies/Had it good ‘til the last drop/Bad dream, but I understand/That you can’t get to Heaven on a coffee can”. ‘Revelation’ includes some great electric guitar work and reminds us that once we invite Christ in, we are not the same persons we once were: “I’ve got a revelation/You’re a new creation, baby/The world can’t bring you down/I’ve got a revelation/ You’ve been elevated, baby/The world can’t bring you down”.
‘What Does it Take?’ is a melodic rock ballad. The words are delivered from the perspective of one wanting their friend or loved one to come to Christ: “What does it take to make you see the love inside of me?/What does it take to make you see the truth that I believe?/What does it take to make you see the pain it’s causing me?/Why can’t you see?/The days are getting shorter, but I won’t surrender hope”. ‘Babble On’ speaks out against gossip: “Every time I add a line, I wish I could subtract/Too late to take it back/And if talk is cheap, the price is high/When I let another arrow fly/Better to be seen and never heard/Than to babble on with every word”. Russ Long plays tambourine.
‘Blue Light Special’ really rocks and includes these interesting lyrics: “Psych line, tone your belly/Hair elixir, royal jelly/Shark attack, legal weasel, dial-a-honey/Drive a diesel/Slash film Sunday/Buy the set/QV shop/Shovel debt, funny, funny/Like a fool and his money, money/Don’t let it outta the box!/Yeah, the blue light is good, yeah the blue light is great”. ‘Break Me Down’ tackles pride: “If my Father shaped the universe/Then why do I still insist on playing God when I’m a fraud?/I’m a certified narcissist/You fashioned every part of me/I’m ready/Break me down (2X)/Do what You do to me/I know You see through me/Break me down”.
‘The Water Is Fine’ is a strong rock number with pointed lyrics: “You’ve got a hobby and you play it every Sunday/A little fire insurance keeps you coming back for more/Nice man in the suit says you should live it every weekday, you forgot by Monday/Who knows, maybe someday/You know He’s somewhere but you don’t know if He cares about the way you live/So you throw Him up a prayer/You hope He hears you but the odds are even split that when He answers you’ll be ready to commit”. John Painter plays the mellotron on ‘My Queen Esther’, a pleasant rock ballad about a woman who is struggling: “And she wants to believe but the image won’t play/And she wants to be loved but that’s a long time away/Kingdoms collide as she tries to rule the world inside/She starts to cry/Take that crown off my Queen Esther/It’s too much for anyone to bear/Don’t hide your face Queen Esther/My King says He’ll meet you anywhere”.
‘Hell to Pay’ is a hard rock song that admits we don’t care enough about poverty: “Checking out channels, in for the night/Catch sight of a starving innocent/Her eyes are swollen shut from neglect/I wonder, is it mine?.../But who’s to blame for this child’s lack?/Some ethnic war?/Some crack maniac?/I wonder, is it me?/Hold on, pizza man’s at the door”. ‘Fear the Auctioneer’ is a heavy song that warns against materialism: “Caught red-handed in the act/Gavel’s dropping/Can’t retract/Shopper beware before you buy/Check your motive, lust is in the eye/Drop the pretense, put down the checkbook/Buddy, you just got hit with the ‘Sold’ look/No telling how far you’ll go.../Fear the auctioneer!"
‘Harder than it Seems’ gets philosophical: “Can you have a perfect Lover without understanding love?/Can you see a brighter future without seeking what you hide?/And I understand that simple truth is deeper than is wide/Still I know/Sometimes it’s harder than it seems”. Last up is the pounding rocker ‘Salvation’. It’s a real contagious praise song: “You are the One who gives me everything my soul desires/All I desire is the perfect work You’ve done/Salvation! (3X)/Is God alive?/Oh yeah!”
BOTTLE ROCKET finds Guardian in fine rocking form. If you enjoy the sounds of Bride and Def Leppard, this album should turn your musical crank. I really like the electric guitar solos and gritty vocals. These songs don’t mince any words. They challenge believers and non-believers as to how they live. In fact, the lyrics may even make you squirm a little bit or cause you to want to defend your lifestyle. The band greatly benefits from Steve Taylor’s songwriting skills for sure! If you want to both be entertained and grow in your Christian walk, BOTTLE ROCKET is for you. I’m rating it 93%. For more info visit: www.houseofguardian.com or connect with the group and its members on Facebook.