I bought this album in February of 1998, about a month after it was released. I loved it instantly. It was dark, electronic and melodic. That ticked every box on my list at the time. I listened to it over and over again. I've probably listened to it close to a thousand times, in fact, I'm listening to it right now! I even sent a self addressed stamped envelope to the address on the insert requesting lyrics, only to have it returned with a big red "return to sender" stamp. I guess he moved.
As with most Christian electronic music: we have an artist who was trying to emulate something and was either so out of touch that they got it all wrong or they had a stroke of genius, made certain stylistic deviations and came up with something altogether different. Whichever it was, it matters very little if one gets the same pleasure from listening. Though, it's still interesting to speculate… especially with an album one's had for so long, listened to in so many different mindsets, loved both as child and adult. I think it's completely brilliant, but based on the evidence I'd have to go with the former-- Randy Rose was going for something and (thank goodness) he completely botched it.
[A young Randy Rose, circa 1987]
Since the late 80's Randy Rose along with his older brother Rodger have been notorious for creating the "Christian alternative to _____" fill in the blank. The greatest example being their Smiths-esq song "I'd Rather Not Go There" which was an incredible (if not somewhat humorous) attempt to impart a little Christian morality into Morrissey's chastity. And the list goes on and on, each album or song with it's obvious secular parallels from Depeche Mode to The Mission UK. But I still, for the life of me, have no idea what Randy Rose' reference points where for the Mothership L.P. I remember when it came out it was billed as "trip-hop". I'm no expert on trip-hop, but it doesn't really seem like an accurate description. I'm glad I don't know what was going through his head though. That's what I love most about music. I'd call it the great mystery: something that seems like it came from somewhere else, something you could never have come up with yourself, otherworldly but still familiar enough to speak to my own northern sensibilities.
It's probably near impossible to find these days. I'm sure it completely sold out within a few years of it's release and it's a real shame because it really is a wonderful album. I do hope it's reissued one day for future generations to enjoy.