Flashback Friday Album Review: Welcome Race Fans

Since it’s the first day of Summer, why not go back 25 years to one of Christian music’s most summery albums?

I say summery because Dakoda Motor Co. was the California beach music of the Christian grunge era. They succesfully blended surf rhythms with unmistakable grunge pedals, raw drums and B-52’s -esque vocals.

Dakoda Motor Co. (based in California, not the Dakodas) was a bolt out of the blue for Christian music. They had a unique sound and was the first good Christian grunge band. They were new and young, hip and fresh, from the West Coast (and remained there), and they were the first band to successfully blend party music with Christian lyrics. Yes, party music. Fun, rollicking, good-time, not-so-serious yet had-a-Christian-message, loud, crank-it-up party music.

Though they only released three albums, their sophomore effort, Welcome Race Fans, was without a doubt their peak album. Their previous, Into the Son, was a decent debut, but their second album had really captured the attention of the youth–finally something that made us feel like we (Gen-X Christian music fans) have entered the 90s!

Loud, fun, head-banging-but-not-metal, rythmic, unpolished-yet-professional, Christian-yet-not-preachy, and artsy-while-entertaining, Welcome Race Fans was the album that jolted us out of the same-ol-same-ol and gave us what we had been waiting for. The only other rock album of that time (just prior to Jesus Freak) that might have matched these same qualities was probably Steve Taylor’s Squintreleased the previous year. And if memory serves me correctly, Dakoda Motor Co. was the opening band for Taylor’s “Squinternational Tour ’94,” and he had directed at least one of their videos from this project.

Another note for this album was that it ushered in a wave of new and upcoming Gen X artists such as Sixpence None the Richer and Jars of Clay. With that, perhaps (just thinking out loud, here), they might have influenced existing bands such as DC Talk, Newsboys and Audio A. to take thier sound to the next level.

Welcome Race Fans was an album that I originally had on cassette, and popped in the car stereo on my way to the ol’ community college. It made me feel like the young and carefree college kid that I was.

And even now, 25 years later, popping this CD into my minivan, I might be a middle-aged dad with a paunch; but this album still makes me feel like that young, skinny, hopeful 19-year-old college kid that I once was, playing this on the open road and in the warmth of the sun.

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