From the psychedelic tribal blues opener "Dark Road" through to the end of the album, Christopher shows just how strong the second-level psychedelia of the late '60s could be. There was no shortage of great musicians hailing from Texas during the era, and the ones who remained in the state were forming some of the most idiosyncratic bands of the swirling, inventive times: top-flight bands such as Thirteenth Floor Elevators, Lost & Found, the Golden Dawn, and Christopher. Christopher, though, cannot exactly be lumped together with those peers. They had to leave Texas for California to make their mark, and indeed, Christopher owes a good deal to the music of that state -- songs such as "Magic Cycles" and "In Your Time" are informed by the dreamier qualities of the San Francisco sound, especially the extended atmospherics of Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. There are also hints of fellow Los Angeles bands the Doors and Spirit throughout the album, and like the best music coming out of California, the songs on Christopher sound somehow revolutionary and foreboding, as if there is something dark lurking just beneath the surface of the music. Occasionally, Christopher occupied similar musical territory as Cream. They were not unfamiliar with the blues, and, like the British supergroup, they were an absurdly powerful three-piece with an abundance of ability in both instrumental and songwriting proficiency. In addition, Doug Walden's vocals are a dead ringer for Jack Bruce. With that said, the album actually sounds quite different from Cream. Christopher are somehow both more mystical and earthy. "Dark Road" starts out with a loping, jazzy blues groove before being propelled forward by a tempo change and some brilliant, musical drumming. "Wilbur Lite" seems grounded by some slashing chording by Richard Avitts, but then an open-ended melody and upward bass progression raise the song up off its legs. "Queen Mary" rolls along on top of a choppy drum beat and bass groove until Walden's phenomenal spine-tingling vocals soar above the music, uncontainable. The music itself, however, never spins out of restraint. The songs are all relatively succinct, never growing excessive or dull, and Avitts' guitar playing is economical. The lyrics can get a bit pretentious here and there, but that doesn't even really qualify as a minor flaw since it is a product of ambitiousness and the era. Christopher is one of the finer albums to have fallen completely through the cracks of the '60s, and Christopher one of the era's best forgotten bands. One wishes that they had stuck around long enough to create more music.
AllMusic Review by Stanton Swihart