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Crumbächer - Worlds Away (1989)

by Jeff Miller

1Worlds Away4:18
2Heavy Rhythm4:15
3Summer Children3:25
4The Last Time5:07
5Desert Lightning4:09
6Latter Rains6:35
8No Kind Of Magic4:11
9Perfect Crime3:00
10Tears Of Joy4:32
11Rock In The Heart Place4:20
12Over & Over, On & On

There are times when an album is a little harder to describe than others. And this is one of those times. Not that it has anything particularly odd about it. It’s just one of those albums that you have to experience for yourself.

The band, Crumbacher, had a handful of California synth-pop albums between 1985 and 1989, each better than the one before. And just when it seemed Crumbacher had gotten in full swing, they stopped. Well, sort of.

In 1990, founder and band’s namesake Stephen Crumbacher, with guitarist Christopher Duke, joined together in what would become their only project, Worlds Away. Stephen would release a solo album the following year.

Since the band was nicely progressing, it is no surprise that Worlds Away is the best effort from Stephen Crumbacher’s career. The only thing really missing from this project are the lovely harmonies from former bandmate Dawn Wisner.

Here, we have an 80’s California summer-style, synth-infused pop/rock album with lots of energy, rhythm and hooks. In a way, that’s a play on words, since some of the album’s highlights are the rocking, “Heavy Rhythm,” the somewhat Beach Boys -esque “Summer Children,” and Side 2’s ‘catchy’ “Hooks.” This album also gives us some Beatles-esque ballads to boot. The overall style though, could be described as a blend of early Michael W. Smith and Electric Light Orchestra. See how it’s a little hard to describe? You just have to hear it. And thanks to the advent of streaming, if you haven’t already, you can.

Since this project a duo effort with Chris Duke, this gives the guitar more prominence than previous albums, which is one of the reasons why this may stand out. But let’s not forget the aforementioned upbeat catchy hooks that permeate the album, which is why it’s hard to pull just a few highlights. All of the songs on this project are excellent–though perhaps the only imperfect song is “Perfect Crime,” but the melody and instrumental break makes up for it.

Overall, it’s a shame that this album didn’t have the recording budget to have been produced in a high quality studio with all the bells and whistles to give the sound mix the ‘wow’ quality that it deserves. In fact, it is beyond a shame, and is almost begging to be remixed and remastered. It’s also a shame that this album never got the attention that it deserved, and has unfortunately been nearly forgotten in the annals of CCM history.

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