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New Creation

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  • Formed: Vancouver, British Columbia, Cana
  • Years Active: 1960s

Albums

Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

The New Creation were initially heard by very few people, and for good reason. Released in 1970, their album Troubled was one of countless rock "vanity" albums self-pressed during the psychedelic era. Only 100 copies were made, none sold commercially, and it was only known to have been played on the radio once. More than that, though, it was extremely uncommercial, its wholly original material combining devout Christian religious lyrics with crude, even amateurishly played and sung rock music with shades of folk-rock, psychedelia, and gospel. The band's timekeeping wavered incessantly, their voices shook off-key, their harmonies often fell out of time with each other, and the recording quality brought to mind a cavernous garage. It sounded as if it had been recorded in one night, as in fact it was.

Yet the album is more interesting than the usual goofy vanity project, or wholly uncommercial records that have come to be tagged as "outsider" art in the 21st century. The songs have somewhat hipper, odder, and more direct language than the usual proselytizing Christian music effort, sometimes addressing and reflecting the chaotic counterculture of the time. Too, a guileless sincerity was often projected, and strange echo, percussive interjections, and (particularly on the opening "Countdown to Revolution!") psychedelic effects made their presence known as well. Many records with reverentially Christian lyrics sound like slick sales pitches; Troubled might not have made many, or any, converts, but it was anything but slick, and actually did sound as if its message was coming from the heart.

The story of the New Creation's formation and rediscovery, as you might expect, was about as strange as Troubled sounded. Two-thirds of the New Creation was the Vancouver mother-son songwriting team of Lorna Towers and Chris Towers. Lorna Towers wanted to write songs posing a religious alternative to the drug scene of the late '60s; her words were put to music by guitarist Chris Towers. Family friend and 19-year-old drummer Jan Tiessen (who'd only been playing for six months) began practicing with them, and that was the group that recorded Troubled, whose dozen songs were picked from around 50 that had been written. The whole LP was done in a midnight-to-six overnight session in Vancouver, and 100 copies were pressed on the band's Alpha Omega label, mostly for distribution to family and friends. Two 45-rpm singles with alternate versions of songs for the album were recorded soon afterward.

The New Creation played a live coffeehouse gig and appeared on a local cable access TV show in Vancouver, but got virtually no airplay and disbanded in late '70. The album was rediscovered by a hardcore Canadian record collector in the late '80s in a Vancouver second-hand store. Over the next 15 years it developed enough of a cult reputation among both psychedelic private-press collectors and aficionados of outsider music to merit a CD reissue on Companion Records in 2003. Although Tiessen had not been in contact with the Towers for 30 years, they got in touch again when the reissue was being prepared, and discussed the idea of reuniting. And, in fact, the threesome did set about recording a follow-up to Troubled between July 2004 and April 2006, 34 years after the release of their debut. A Unique Disaster was issued on the Aero Music label in 2006, its liner notes explaining the intent of this "Last Times" album to impart "a message of the terrible, inevitable events to come" and the front cover quoting Ezekiel: “Thus saith The Lord God; an evil, a unique disaster, is come.”

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