This Is The Moment
The Violet Burning The Violet Burning have never disappointed. Their albums are, without exception, full of great grooves, intelligent yet heartfelt lyrics and, above all, passion. “This Is The Moment”, their 2003 release,...
Jars Of Clay It is the year 1995 – Atlantis visits Mir, France goes on strike, Microsoft joins forces with the Rolling Stones, and I hear “Flood” for the first time. Soon after this event, I discover the other brilliant...
Free Flying Soul
The Choir "Free Flying Soul" was the follow-up album to the brilliant "Speckled Bird" and the overall vibe of this album is not dissimilar to that of its predecessor, though perhaps a little more ethereal....
Giants Wake From Their Sleep | Posted July-09-2008
It is the year 1995 – Atlantis visits Mir, France goes on strike, Microsoft joins forces with the Rolling Stones, and I hear “Flood” for the first time. Soon after this event, I discover the other brilliant “wet songs” (Liquid & Sinking) on their self titled album, and my love-affair with the music of Jars of Clay begins. Everything was going along quite predictably and smoothly until 2006, then it happened: “Good Monsters”. GM is an album that rose above, it is an album that grabbed my attention from the first listening and has never let go. Every song here is great, but tracks like Light Gives Heat, Dead Man and Oh My God transcend “great” and move readily into the realm of “brilliant”. And it doesn’t end there, the wonderful cover of Julie Miller’s “All My Tears”, and the Leigh Nash duet “Mirrors & Smoke” help cement this album as the best ever (without contest imho) by Jars. If you are not a fan of the band yet, or if you are thinking of buying into the Jars franchise, then this is the place to start.
Personal Highlights: Oh My God, Dead Man, All My Tears
Shower Me In Halo Songs | Posted July-09-2008
The Violet Burning have never disappointed. Their albums are, without exception, full of great grooves, intelligent yet heartfelt lyrics and, above all, passion. “This Is The Moment”, their 2003 release, seems however to take this to an all new level. Though probably not as innovative as “Plastic & Elastic” and not as emotionally gripping as their self titled album or “Strength”, all twelve songs are superbly crafted and completely draw you in. There are no filler tracks here, no songs that tempt you to skip ahead. Pritzl’s voice is amazing and has an intensity to it that is rarely matched in CCM. Musically and sonically I guess the only comparison that I can make is to that of Billy Corban’s groups (Zwan, Smashing Pumpkins), but the Violet Burning are not simply a knock-off, they are brilliant.
Personal Highlights: Lovesick / Lost Without You Near Me / I See Stars
What Matters Most | Posted March-02-2008
Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life has been a regular staple in my literary diet for the past few years now. It is, in short, an overview of the most basic and fundamental tenets of Christianity. Clearly presented and very easy to read, it provides forty brief sound bites of the essentials of the faith. Rick Warren's style is very easy to digest and one can pick up the book, open a chapter almost at random, and come away enthused, motivated and refreshed. The book itself strongly recommends a more methodical and structured "forty day" approach, which is the way I tackled it the first time though, however I seem to remember the temptation to read the next day's chapter was often quite strong, as often happens when one is engrossed in the pages of another's work. Probably the greatest strength of Purpose Driven Life, and I dare say the reason for it's remarkable power to motivate, is it's heavy use of scripture (nearly 1000 quotes throughout). Further, it doesn't allow itself to get bogged down in semantics and therefore the reader avoids the same trap. Christians of all persuasions will find inspiring reminders of the basics all throughout these pages. One possible drawback to Purpose Driven Life is that the author cites fourteen different translations of the Bible in this work, and one is kind of left with the uneasy impression that the translation of scripture which most closely accentuates the author's point is the one chosen, further, a few of scriptural quotes seem to be taken out of their originally intended context within the Bible. That being said, nothing quoted within P.D.L. is contextually problematic with an overall scriptural worldview, and Rick Warren has delivered a fantastic book that has doubtlessly help many believers (myself included) to take steps forward in their Christian walk and to remember that "it's not about you."
To Decorate The Blue Sky | Posted March-02-2008
"Free Flying Soul" was the follow-up album to the brilliant "Speckled Bird" and the overall vibe of this album is not dissimilar to that of its predecessor, though perhaps a little more ethereal. The quality of the songs represented here is indicative of the wonderfully high standards The Choir consistently sets. Tracks such as "The Chicken", "Salamander" and "The Warbler" instantly stand out as examples of what is great about The Choir, and songs like "Butterfly" and "Away With The Swine" only take a few listenings to become highlights. Steve Hindalong's lyrics contain a poetry that is, as usual, delivered flawlessly by Derri Daugherty's distinctive and memorable voice. My single problem with the album stems from my frustration with the songs "Leprechaun" and "Yellow-Haired Moneys". Both are great songs and could have potentially been my favourites from the album, but the are both far too short for my liking. I really would have loved to hear them fleshed out a little more, especially "Yellow-Haired Moneys"....Anyway, enough of my petty griping - in short, if you don't own this CD, track it down and rectify the hole in your collection immediately. If you have already discovered The Choir's brilliance, revel in it.
Personal Highlights: Away With The Swine / The Ocean
Personal Low Points: Slow Spin / The length of Leprechaun & Y.H.M.
Hereâ€™s The Theme Song | Posted December-10-2007
I'll be honest here, my expectations of this album were probably too high. I guess what I was hoping for was something in the vein of "Thrive Part II", and "Go" is not that album. It is however, thoroughly true to the Newsboys franchise: the songs are extremely catchy, nearly to the point of being infectious, and the whole album seems to have a light, effervescent undercurrent woven into its fabric. Once again the lyrics are witty and well thought out...and they have Steve Taylor's scent all over them. One thing that piqued my interest is that with this album, more so than with any previous Newsboys effort, the quality of the Taylor-free tracks seems to be quite high.
When all is said and done though, when I listen to this CD what I'm hearing is not forward movement, but rather a harking back to the days of "Take Me To Your Leader" or "Step Up To The Microphone" for sure, a great period for Newsboys fans, but with all the talent that is so obviously draped throughout the band, I guess I would rather hear something that puts the "New" back in their name...after all, The Returningtoformerglorysboys is a bit of a mouthful.
Personal Highlights: Secret Kingdom / Your Love Is Better Than Life
Personal Low Points: I Am Free / Let It All Come Out
By Changing Your Angle | Posted December-10-2007
After buying this album and giving it a couple of spins it found its way into my CD rack and seemed destined not to resurface. My first impression was very ho-hum. To my ear every song seemed almost indistinguishable from the next, and certainly indistinguishable from the milieu of current rock at the time. It wasn't terrible or anything, but not that good either and certainly forgettable. On a whim, I recently decided to give it another chance and I played it again with much the same response...until I got to the last song. Tucked neatly away at the end of this CD is a gem of a song called "It's Like Me" which not only grabbed my attention but impressed me in every way that matters. On the strength of that song alone Sea Of Faces was added into regular circulation and I noticed that the more attention I paid this album the better it got. After a while the substance of this album became evident and the strength of some of the other songs began to shine out. I doubt this CD will ever become a favourite, but it certainly contains some quality songs and it does seem to grow on you. I guess you just have to give some albums serious attention and not always expect to be blown away straight out of the gates.
Personal Highlights: Let You In / Sea Of Faces / It's Like Me
Personal Low Points: Troubled Heart / Passion
My Journey Is Complete | Posted December-10-2007
This was David Meece's final album...or so we thought, and a fine little album it is too. It is pretty much everything we'd come to expect from this very talented artist: exceptional vocals, quality musicianship, and more than superficial honesty. The real drawback is that the album preceding it (Learning To Trust) was so very, very good. Once In A Lifetime feels a little bit like the little brother of its predecessor all the parts that made Learning To Trust shine so brightly are there, but a certain indefinable something lacks and one is left feeling that the whole is less than the sum of its parts. (Mind you, I'm sure that I only feel this way because of the very high standard set by Meece's 89 effort) Even though the use of background vocals in the opening two tracks annoys a bit, it's not enough to seriously detract from the overall quality of the songs. The album contains a couple of awesome songs: the title track and "Early In The Morning" spring to mind, and "My Father's Chair" is difficult to ignore. The other six tracks are quite good too, but this album kind of leaves you wanting more.
Personal Highlights: Early In The Morning / Once In A Lifetime
Personal Low Points: Brokenness / Only 9 tracks!
Letâ€™s Ignite | Posted December-10-2007
In my opinion, each and every album by Project 86 betters the one before, and Rival Factions makes no exception of this rule...and that is no small achievement. And The Rest Shall Follow is a first class album no matter which way you look at it and topping it was always going to be a big ask, yet Rival Factions does seem up to the challenge. It's worth noting that this was not my initial opinion; after the first couple of listenings I had have to confess that I thought Project 86 was resting on its laurels...but after a few weeks spent in my current playlist I find that the quality and strength of the songs presented here is becoming more and more evident. Of the ten songs on Rival Factions only two ("Put Your Lips To The TV" and "The Forces Of Radio...") have yet to totally impress...but considering the way all the other tracks have grown on me, I assume it's only a matter of time.
Personal Highlights: Illuminate / The Sanctuary Hum / Normandy
Personal Low Points: Put Your Lips To The TV / Only 10 tracks