PAX217 has been through quite a lot in recent years -- continuous touring, performing at many major Christian events since their debut in 2000 up until 2003, and two full length albums to their credit (both on one of the biggest Christian record labels: Forefront). In August of 2003, the boys of PAX decided to sit back and reflect on what had happened in the five years since they had decided to follow God's calling on their lives.
The only music to come out of this "break" was a five-song EP: Check Your Pulse. It's been a while since PAX217 has been in the studio, and considerable changes have occurred, as expected when a band takes this much time off. Two band members have left, and the band's signature style that once flowed completely throughout their albums has since taken a back seat.
On Check Your Pulse, the entire mood to the album is considerably different than almost anything on their two previous albums. The reggae feel that once was noticeable in many of their songs is almost completely gone. The pure rap verses are nowhere to be found except for "Who Will Counsel," and even then it's more spoken word from David Tosti than a rap verse.
Probably the most original PAX song is the final track on the EP, "Frequency of Your Love." It sounds more like a b-side from their previous album, Engage. "Kiss Me Glory" is a worshipful song that starts off with an instrument that no one really expects on a rock/rap record: a harp. The harp fills the bridge as well, and does quite a good job getting the worship feel into the song, and you can hear David almost whispering in the bridge, "I need You now, more than ever before, Pray for me, pray for me, cause I am alone."
If you ask me, it's still PAX217, but toned down quite a bit. Much of what made their strongest songs in the past like "Tonight," "Voices," and "A.M," so memorable make no real appearance here. It seems like PAX is getting into a more acoustic style of their music. The guitars are there, but the emotion of the Engage album is almost non-existent. It will be interesting to see how the band writes their next album. Check Your Pulse leaves you wanting more: more of the old PAX.- Review date: 1/19/05, written by Justin Mabee
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