Over the past several years, new male artists have shot up in the Christian music scene faster than fireworks on the 4th of July. Some have been disappointing, a few have been exceptional, and most have been somewhere in the middle. The newest of these solo musicians is Josh Bates, who brings to the table his debut album Perfect Day. A 23-year-old singer, guitarist, and pianist on Beach Street/Reunion Records, Bates was discovered when he was only 15. He has since refined his talents and now displays a musical maturity not typical of young artists.
Perhaps even more impressive than his musical abilities is Josh's gift as a lyricist. The words of his songs are straightforward and poignant, and it is obvious he has a passion for what he does. "Less" reassures the listener of the Lord's sovereignty and love, declaring "I hear my Father say, even when I'm feeling small, He loves me, really loves me, and I know He knows best, even on the days when I feel less." "Alive" proclaims new life in Christ, while "There Is None Like You" simply praises God for who He is.
The album has a powerful and diverse sound, as Josh rocks out on some songs while quieting down for solemn praise on others. However, though his songs avoid getting repetitive, the sound itself isn't groundbreaking. The disc as a whole feels a bit safe, and sounds quite like what has been done by similar artists before. The result is that Perfect Day ends up as an impressive debut, but falls somewhere short of being memorable.
Still, with catchy songs like the album's title track, "Shine," and "You Say Come," this release should be a popular one, especially for fans of Chris Rice, Building 429, or labelmates Casting Crowns. Though this debut is not all it could have been, a few listens should leave most people liking what they hear, and anxious to see what is to come from this promising young artist.- Review date: 9/15/05, written by Spencer Priest
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