The first time I heard This Providence, I was sitting in a friend's car. We were talking, and the CD was playing softly in the background. All I knew of the band at the time was that they were on the same label as Panic! at the Disco and Fall Out Boy. Without even a second thought, I dismissed them as just another mainstream pop/punk act that probably had questionable lyrics, and would not be my cup o' tea. And that's the way things stayed for weeks.
But we serve a God that shows grace to us and our judging hearts, and a friend shared with me a favorite song of theirs after seeing them live recently. It was better than I had previously surveyed, and I was assured that the band's lyrics were, in fact, quite "Christian." I realized that my original conclusion might have been the least bit hasty. So, like any God-fearing individual in need of redemption, I purchased the record. What I ended up with was one of my favorite records of 2006.
This Providence's self-titled, sophomore effort draws a lot of influence from their label mates Panic! At the Disco. The main difference being, This Providence sounds a lot more raw and edgy (Less techno, more rock). It might still sound a little too close for comfort, however. And I'll admit, listening to the two back to back is a little confusing sometimes. But This Providence adds a lot more indie rock to the pop/punk/emo brand, and blazes their own trail for twelve tracks that will not only have you bobbing your head, but also thinking seriously about spiritual issues.
Now I know some of you are thinking, "Catchy pop/punk in the vein of Panic! at the disco with a lot of spiritual meaning?" And I thought the very same thing. But, folks, it is true. The album leads off with "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing," an ode to, you guessed it, Satan. Speaking directly to him, it's a call to the youth of America to stop giving in, and take a stand against him, "I've had enough of your games. If you're not trembling, you'd better be, because we're gonna be the end of you. I'm gonna show them who you really are. And I can tell you right now, it won't be pretty / You held me down for so long, but it's not gonna last, because I can see right through your beautiful eyes."
But the devil isn't the only one directly addressed on the record. Much of the album is speaking directly to God. Take the slower, acoustic-driven "My Beautiful Rescue" for instance. It's a wonderfully pieced together love song to the One who saves us from ourselves. "Losing Control" deals with someone struggling with whether or not they are ready to give their life over to Christ, "The whole world hates You. The whole world hates Your song. Oh, God, I'm a sinner, but I think I want to sing along."
The whole album is blatantly honest. Struggles with insecurity surface on "...But What Will They Say?" Lust reers its ugly head on "Secret Love and the Fastest Way to Loneliness." Hypocrisy in the Church, and a call to love are beautifully demonstrated on "The Road to Jericho Is Full of Starving People." And the album ends with "The Pursuit of Happiness (2nd Movement)," which comes to the conclusion that "If you really wanna live, you're gonna have to let it go. Oh, God, it hurts! But when I count the cost, it all seems worth it all. God, it's a fight. But I just might... I might just let it all go!." How many other bands put it out there so plainly and honestly?
The fact that I wrote this band off so quickly almost scares me. This Providence is one of the most exciting bands of 2006, and they're gaining speed. With a message they aren't afraid to share, and talent they won't hold back, the future is looking bright. Really bright.- Review date: 12/2/06, written by Josh Taylor
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