STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 20066-927 LABEL: Essential 083061082024 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2006-09-01 RRP: £9.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
I have a good friend, one whose tastes in Christian music are usually uncannily in line with mine, who considers Jars Of Clay one of the most overrated acts in CCM. I have to say that as far as the Jars go we have to part company. For where he derides the band for dullness, I hear a rich musical intelligence and where he considers Dan Haseltine has a colourless vocal style, I believe his mannered poignancy one of the most identifiable and effecting voices in CCM. And I can report that after the acoustic orientated delights of 'Who We Are Instead' the triple Grammy winning band have conjured up a masterly alternative rock set. An edgy riff on "Dead Man (Carry Me)" makes it one of the Jars' catchiest songs for years while their rendition of the haunting Julie Miller classic "All My Tears" is almost as good as the classic original. The band's use of guests, the ex-Sixpence frontlady Leigh Nash on "Mirrors And Smoke" and Americana singer/songwriter Kate York on "Even Angels Cry", bring fresh colourings to Haseltine's plangent tones. About the album, the singer says it was "born out of many experiences and conversations between addicts, failures, lovers, loners, believers and beggars, and so the language of recovery and the honest discourse about our attempts to live apart from God and each other is a theme." And a theme that produces much here that is moving and memorable. It may not win my friend over but for me 'Good Monsters' is another fine album.
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Multi-platinum and triple Grammy winning band Jars of Clay have long held a reputation for creative excellence. With their latest album Good Monsters the band continues to create music that stretches the imagination and offers a new perspective on who we are as a church today.
'This album was born out of many experiences and conversations between addicts, failures, lovers, loners, believers and beggars, and so the language of recovery and the honest discourse about our attempts to live apart from God and apart from each other is a theme. Engaging people who are doing the hard work of laying their lives open to others and avoiding isolation has allowed me to see that there is both immeasurable evil and unfathomable good mixing under my own skin and it is grace, mercy and freedom that allow me to not simply be a monster, but to be a good monster.'
With eleven original songs, and a remake of the Julie Miller-penned anthem All My Tears, Good Monsters even boasts a couple of guest starring appearances: Nashville based, Americana singer/ songwriter extraordinaire Kate York guests on Even Angels Cry, and formerly of Sixpence None The Richer, Leigh Nash, sings on Mirrors and Smoke.