In life, the younger sibling tends to watch their older sibling in their ways and oftentimes attempts to follow in their footsteps or mimic them. They watch them closely as they go about their daily routines and think if they could only do what they do that they would be just as big and just as mature as their elder sibling. Unfortunately, Christian music can follow a similar pattern. A secular act will gain much attention, sell millions of records and secure a spot in the CD trays of many stereos owned by today's youth. While we can arguably say that the Christian music market merely supplies alternatives for the secular music to listen to. For example, if you like Limp Bizkit's style, you might want to check out Pillar. If you like U2, you'll probably dig Delirious? So, in this case, if you're a Linkin Park fan, chances are you might be able to get into 38th Parallel. But the question always remains, is the musical quality as good as the band it is trying to sound like or heavily influenced by?
38th Parallel blends the rock rap vocals Christian music has come to know from bands like Pax217 with honest, Christ-centered lyrics that you'll find in such songs as "Three Times Denied." In fact, there are quite a few similarities between Pax and 38th Parallel. But what makes 38th sound so much like Linkin Park is they use the same aggressive rapcore vocals blended occasionally with boy-band harmonies. An odd but relatively original mix, yes. However, Linkin did do it before 38th. And although I'm no Linkin Park fan, the quality of sound is greater. Turn the Tides suffers from a sound that just doesn't quite go as far as it needs to and comes off too much like an independent release than a national debut. Another problem is, with songs like "Hear My Cry" and "Turn the Tides," they tend to sound so much like their secular counterparts that their identity gets lost in the sound. But potential is present... in spades, actually.
"Higher Ground," which has a Pax flavor while reminiscent of the harmonies the 80s Christian act Idle Cure was so good at producing, proves the band has encouraging lyrics to offer. This is something you won't find in similar secular acts. So while 38th is nothing new to our ears, they offer a decent debut with Turn the Tides and a positive release for those tired of the trite angst of secular counterparts.- Review date: 7/10/02, written by J.D.
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