After being inexplicably dropped by their label after two albums, Canadian band Downhere return with a third album which is undoubtedly the best they've released yet. Mixing a rock and pop blend that pitches them into similar territory to bands like The Afters and the newly rocked up Casting Crowns and yet this band leave them both standing in the dust musically. The co-vocal approach of guitarist Marc Martel (who must be tired of being compared with Kevin Max) and keyboard player Jason Germain gives the band a superb versatility. The pop melodies and edgy rock influences give this set of songs a dangerous bite and an infectious sound. They also aren't afraid to write songs that are artfully intelligent yet spiritual, powerfully mixing together songs that touch the heart with music that satisfies the soul. There's plenty here to love so the communion song "Remember Me" and the challenging "The Real Jesus" stand out. I love the anthemic feel of "Surrender" but the piece de resistance is "A Better Way". This is probably the best song I've heard in 2006 and it describes the life sacrificing love of Christ as the ultimate demonstration of how to love someone. The upshot of it all is that 'Wide Eyed And Mystified' is Downhere at their absolute best and this is my first candidate for album of the year 2006.
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