Larry Norman - Breathe In, Breathe Out

Tuesday 1st June 1999
Larry Norman - Breathe In, Breathe Out
Larry Norman - Breathe In, Breathe Out

RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Solid Rock SRD799

Reviewed by Dougie Adam

No one else could have made an album like this. 'Breathe In, Breathe Out' breaks so many rules about record making in one go. Importantly, it breaks the rules and comes out winning. Rule No one: Never release a double album, they're boring and way too long. Broken! 'Breath In, Breathe Out' clocks in at around one hour and 50 minutes in length. Rule No two: Never record a double album in a day! Smashed to smithereens! 'BI,BO' is the result of a 10 hour studio session of rehearsals for Larry's European tour with Dutch band Beam. No overdubs were added. None needed. It's all out guitar music .with not a keyboard or sequencer in earshot. Rule No three: Never re-record your old songs... I think you get the idea. To tell you the truth I was dreading hearing what this was going to sound like after I'd seen that there had been a lot of criticism of this release on some internet sites, and the fact that it was an album of rehearsals, had lots of old songs, chat between Larry and the band and a number of false starts made me think the whole thing would be a slack-ly played, badly recorded, tedious affair. Not so. In fact, as I listened from song to song on CD one and then flicked through CD two I kept waiting for the moment when it would all go horribly wrong and all the criticism would suddenly begin to seem justified. It never arrived, and the more I listened, the more I became convinced that this could be Larry's most enjoyable studio album since the '70s. At times Beam sound like Radiohead, U2, Oasis. Yes, there are probably already too many versions of "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" and "Why Don't You Look Into Jesus" in existence to get excited about the news that Larry's re-recorded them yet again. But when you hear the way they've tackled the old songs there is no disputing the fact that they sound better than any of the recent trib­ute versions or remixes, and while old fans might prefer the original ver­sions I imagine a lot of young rock fans in their teens and 20s who may never even have heard of Larry will love these songs, and the way they've been recorded. The cover of "Jesus Freak" is superior to the Flevo version, and gives the dc Talk original a run for its money. The new songs sound great and the run through of Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" nearly reduced me to tears it was so good. Larry's vocal on that track is so expressive it matters not a jot that the lines from the four original vers­es have been jumbled into two wrong verses by Larry. Amazingly in Larry's hands every line of Dylan's vomit hate masterpiece rings out with... compassion. The new songs are amazing. I heard some of them at Larry's solo concert in Belfast and sat there praying that he'd record and release them soon, as I was convinced they stood comparison with his best songs. I'm thrilled at how good they sound backed by Beam.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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