Given that Portland's Hosannas have only released one regular album, 2009's Song Force Crystal, it might seem early for the band to be putting out a compilation of its juvenilia, especially since that juvenilia dates from only 2008, but that is what Then & Now & Then is. Among the CD's 14 tracks, six derive from the self-released album With All Our Love for Francisco the Man and four from the self-released Gold EP, with four previously unreleased. All were recorded straight to four-track in a living room. At that time, the group was a trio consisting of brothers Brandon and Richard Lewis, plus Cristof Hendrickson, and they were calling themselves Church, hence the disc's subtitle, "The Music of Church." This is lo-fi, D.I.Y. stuff, as the three musicians learned to play, and learned to play together on tape. They have an esoteric style, somewhat reminiscent of another brother act, the Jesus and Mary Chain, not to mention the more progressive (or goofy) side of the Beach Boys. Another major influence, the Beatles, is suggested on "Walrus," a music fan's confession, which begins, "Forgive us if we still don't know who the walrus was." The rhythms shuffle along in a ramshackle way as the brothers harmonize, with one taking a falsetto part. The previously unreleased tracks are among the more accomplished, notably "Seen You But See Through," with its refrain, "My heart is a haunted house." The group has a knockabout charm that in part stems from their semi-amateur status. Perhaps they can retain some of that as they become more professional.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann