by Thomas Bedward December 17, 2017
Although best known for his work in the Praise and Gospel genre, John Sellers is the ringleader and creative force behind his eponymous band. The John Sellers Band is an intriguing departure from the gospel scene, harking back to John’s rock and roll roots and a deep, burning passion for the electric genre. On his own admission, the band’s debut album, ‘Love Burns Like A Fire’ is the kind of album he has always wanted to make, a collection of eleven, original songs of declaration, commentary, and dissertation.
‘Love Burns Like A Fire’ is a project that is determined to take the listener on a journey. It’s an album that comes with the illustrative tagline, “we live in the emergence of a higher dimension. We are allowed to see it unfold because it is intentionally revealed to us.”
It’s an intriguing concept that sets the foundation for the album, and John Sellers’ ambition cannot be denied. Opening with the title track, ‘Love Burns Like A Fire’ opens onto a sprawl of classic rock influences. It’s a song that holds within it an obscured melody, with vocals flowing in and out of the instrumentals at will. Channelling The Beatles, Deep Purple, and Credence Clear Water Revival, the album lurches from its hazy opener into the raucous energy and high octane choruses of ‘OooWee’.
From there on it’s a wild ride to reach the end of The John Sellers Band’s debut album. Careening from the funk-laden charms of ‘Noodlin’ (Featuring Mike Deasy)’ to the ambling melodies of ‘Peggy Martin Rose’ and ‘A Hundred Mistakes’. It’s a faltering balancing act in a way, with the many shades of the album never quite settling into place. The foundations are there, and the skeleton of a decent album is certainly held within, but sadly there are just too many drawbacks that flair up on too many occasions.
Reading through the lyrics that accompany the album, there is clearly some poetry in play, and John Sellers’ ability to conjure up emotive and affecting scenes cannot be underplayed. It’s so sad then that the vocals aren’t always as strong as they need to be, lost either too overpowering instrumentals or a simple loss of clarity and force. It’s a damning flaw that is sadly exacerbated at times by off-kilter production and inconsistent orchestration.
To say that the album has no redeeming features would be a definite injustice, however, and praise must be given to John Sellers’ and his band for bravely stepping into unchartered territory. It’s an album brought to life through determination and strength of will, with Sellers finding his feet through brave exploration.
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