Sunday, January 20, 2008

Music Review: Addison Road

Addison RoadThe Dallas-based band Addison Road has been around the block a few times. Since their inception in 2001 they have independently released three albums, toured frequently, and made a name for themselves as an indie band that would likely soon land a label home. I took notice of them a couple of years ago, and now find myself listening to the first album they will release (March 18, 2008) on the INO label (MercyMe, Sara Groves, Todd Agnew). The self-titled album, I think, lives up to the hype they have been given.

The band, fronted by Jenny Simmons (who maintains a
decent blog), has a sound that is at times similar to Plumb or a less ominous Evanescence. They have been compared to a more rock-oriented Superchic[k] - and that seems fair, as well. The music on Addison Road shows the maturing of their sound over the last few years, as they have become more comfortable with themselves as a band. Lyrically, the album explores the themes of Christian life and offering worship to God - at times overt, and other times more subtle, but never in your face or brash.

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One of the themes heavy in the music is hope. A few years ago, when in a troubled time as a band, they were told that they were being too negative and missing the hope: "Everything rides on hope now." Lead guitarist Ryan Gregg wrestled with this, and the result was one of the centerpiece songs of the album - "Hope Now".

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free.

The idea of hope crops up again in "Start Over Again", as the band explores the opportunity of renewal in God when we've sinned.
If you feel ashamed
Of the choices that you’ve made
You can be whole again
And return to your innocence

Every moment is a second chance
At starting over, at starting over
Move from the past to the present tense
You can start over, start over again

The first single off Addison Road is the song "All That Matters". Speaking to the common theme of the pressure to perfection felt by many, especially teens, "All That Matters" reminds that in God we are complete and without need. Combined with a memorable sound, this song will stick with you.

"Casualties" speaks the fruitless pursuit of the American dream, while the songs "This Could Be Our Day" and "It Just Takes One" are calls to seek out and care for those in need. Another standout song is "Always Love", which with a driving beat and hook in the bridge speaks to the need move beyond hate and violence in order to grow and mature.

The final song on the album is the pensive "What Do I Know Of Holy". A reflection of the feeling of separation from God, it confesses a self-focused religion and the distance it creates from Jehovah.
I’ve made you promises a thousand times
I’ve tried to hear from heaven
But I talk the whole time
I think I made you too small
I’ve never feared you at all, no
If you touched my face would I know you
Looked into my eyes could I behold you

Addison Road coverOverall Addison Road is a catchy album and good label debut for the band. Enjoyable listening, meaningful lyrics, and a general avoidance of the standard CCM formulaic writing make this worth listening to. While there is room for growth in the writing, Addison Road has found their musical niche and work well in it. The album, due out March 18th, can be pre-ordered through the band's website, with the incentive of being able to download mp3s of three songs off the album when you pre-order. (The band also has a history of encouraging fan support through their Roadies - which offers merch in return for promoting the band - taking a step beyond the usual level of band/fan interaction.)

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Anonymous said...

I'm interested in checking them out, thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

I checked them out and they're pretty good. I'll have to give them a more in-depth listen before saying further, but good call.

euphrony said...

Listening for the last week, I can say that they will stay in rotation on my iPod. Cach, if you want more of a listen, go to their ecard and watch a very bizarre video for "All That Matters" (but you get to hear the whole song).

Anonymous said...

I was in a Christian bookstore and saw the new album. Liked the cover--love that it's a female lead--different Got home checked this site--love the sound and love the messages--especially "what do I know of holy"

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