Reviewed by Jonathan Bellamy
"I got somethin' for ya man..." strains the first vocal bite, and it's no lie. But rock-pop, rap-mad DC Talkies beware because what we got is possibly the most dramatic change in style since Clark Kent ditched suit and specs for a cape, pants and a big bold S. No doubt there were traces of transformation on their previous album 'Free At Last1, in particular the rock spasms in "Jesus Is Just Alright" and "Time Is...", but few will be prepared for the radically alternative expression 'Jesus Freak' embraces (unless of course you heard the two tracks played on recent Cross Rhythms cassettes). Musically it's not Seattle or Oasis. It's more diverse, more layered, more intelligent. Sure there's some crunching rhythms but the depth of variety with their pop-hook and rap-root influences ensure a fusion of styles to thrill and surprise many an ear. Perhaps the underlying sound is simply passion, energy. In a recent interview Toby declared the most important aspect in a DC Talk track to be the lyrics. Lyrics born out of personal experience. On 'Jesus Freak' these God-centred, passionate, discipled lyrics are fuelled by the militancy of the sound. Innovative rhymes and catchy phrases hail a message as militant and as relevant as the music. As if in answer to Michael Jackson's "Earth Song" (he sings, "What about us?...") they echo "What about Iove?/What about God?/What about holiness?/What about mercy, compassion and selflessness?" ("What Have We Become"). Whilst the track "Like It, Love It, Need It" claims "You'll never find peace of mind in your pool of self/You'll never find peace of mind in your sea of wealth/You'll never find peace of mind in your rock and roll/You'll never find peace of mind if you sell your soul/. I know you need some freedom from the strife/.I know you need some Jesus in your life." Or, if its honest openness you're looking forward try the mellow, lilting "What If I Stumble": "What if I stumble, what if I fall?/ what if I loose my step and I make fools of us all?/ Will the love continue, when my walk becomes a crawl?/ What if I stumble, what if I fall?" Toby, Michael and Kevin DC Walk their DC Talk. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and in this case it's a big bold J. I've never given 10 squares before on a Cross Rhythms review, but now that's changed. Once again DC Talk are kings of the Kingdom groove.
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