All Star United may now be one of many bands we millennial fans of Christian music remember hearing growing up that is often overlooked by many in the current Christian music industry. But as their debut turns 25 years old, those who opt to rediscover them may find themselves treated to a unique retro-sounding band with enough positive energy to start a marathon.
The Eskalin Effect
Before becoming one of the prolific go-to producers in Christian music, and after some brief stints as a solo artist and member of Code of Ethics, Ian Eskalin formed the power-pop band, All Star United. Known for melding witty lyrics with a dynamic blend of rock, alternative, and retro-sounding pop, All Star United sounded like nothing else in Christian music.
Coming during a time when Christian music was really coming into its own, All Star United boasts some of the sonic hallmarks of the late 1990s, while also carrying a classic pop/rock vibe that would make the bands of the 1970s proud.
All Star United proved they were a force to be reckoned with out of the gate. The opening track, "La La Land," shows all of the strengths the band would wield on this album. "Bright Red Carpet" showed the best of the band's penchant for relevant lyrics, critiquing fame culture, while also showing they could belt out some legendary choruses that will be sure to be stuck in your head all day.
"Savior of my Universe" would show the band could write to Christian radio, with an acoustic hook that fits in with some of the best in the business at the time, yet Eskalin's signature vocals set the song apart. "Beautiful Thing" brought the energy back up and was a full-on powerhouse anthem.
"Tenderness" may perhaps be the album's strongest cut, with a groovy hook and a chorus made for a movie or classic sitcom theme. The song's lyrics work as both a love song and a song of encouragement, again harkening back to some classic iconic hits of the industry from decades past.
Arguably, All Star United has become more of a cult favorite through the years than a member of the genre A-list. I suspect that suits them just fine. As their debut turns a whopping 25 years old this year, take a look back at the album that kickstarted a solid run of gourmet under-the-radar pop/rock.
J.J. Francesco is a long-time contributor to the NRT Staff. He's published the novel 'Because of Austin' and regularly seeks new ways to engage faith, life, and community. He is currently working on releasing a brand new novel.
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