First Call


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First Call is at their best when they are attempting to be a Christian version of Manhattan Transfer. On snappy doo wop tunes like "Campmeetin' Tonight," "One Step at a Time," "Step of Faith," and "Snap to It," the trio's vibrant three-part harmony is quite engaging, even irresistible. And "The Future" is actually a pretty strong pop single produced with professional keyboard gloss by contemporary Christian veteran Keith Thomas (the man who would later score Amy Grant her first number one smash on Billboard's mainstream pop charts by writing "Baby Baby"). But when the group abandons the catchy pop tunes to try their hand at inspirational power pop, the results can be painful. On ballads like "Messiah," "God Is Greater," and "Just As True for You," singers Melodie Tunney, Bonnie Keen, and Marti McCall are just a wee bit too cheesy. And the excruciatingly inflated title track, with its synthesized imitation strings, white-bread gospel vocals, and pompous pedantic lyrics, nearly submerges the album irretrievably in treacle. Undivided may have been a case of too many cooks; Thomas shares production credit with inspirational Dan Keen, Greg Nelson, and Dick Tunney. The band would have been better advised to hire one producer with a commitment to keeping it light.

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