Jars of Clay's long awaited sophomore album comes at a time when the four-piece act is set firmly under the scope with all wondering what will come next. The aptly titled Much Afraid is a sensitive record that further explores the unique Jars Of Clay sound, while straying a considerable distance from the alternative folk sounds of their acclaimed debut.
Much Afraid starts off with "Overjoyed," a song about allowing God's name for us to be the calling to which we respond. The big difference with Much Afraid from their self-titled album is that Steve Mason utilizes some electric guitars that were distinctly absent on the first disc. It allows the band to try out different sounds, but it causes the record to lose some of the wonder and intrigue of the debut. "Fade to Grey" is a highlight on the record, a song about the doubt and insecurity we wade through. Rerecorded and made available to the public for the first time, the original song appeared on Jars' much sought-after independent release Frail (which is no longer in print). Other Much Afraid highlights include the album's first single "Crazy Times," "Tea & Sympathy," and the regretful "Portrait of an Apology." Also, a new personal favorite is "Five Candles," a song Jars recorded for the Jim Carrey film Liar Liar, but sadly was never used because they changed the credits of the movie to include film bloopers.
Although considerably different than their praiseworthy start two years ago, Much Afraid is a definite success and remains a worthy follow-up to a record that has already sold nearly 2 million units, and counting...- Reviewed by John DiBiase, 1997
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