On the heels of what may be considered one of the best albums produced by the veteran Atlanta-based rock band yet, Third Day releases their latest project, Wherever You Are. The album bears a central theme of hope and redemption from start to finish, aiming at the church and unsaved alike to bring some light to the dark times in their lives. In fact, the rocking opener "Tunnel" bears a verse that about sums up the entire album's focus, "You've got your disappointment and sorrows / I'm going to try to give a little hope to you."
Third Day sets out to accomplish in the fifty two minutes of Wherever You Are what most tend to try to do in just one song. It's a big task, but a desperately needed one. In the midst of a time where natural disasters and war are plaguing many parts of our world, not to mention problems within our own households, having hope almost seems foolish. But Wherever You Are reminds us that God is in control through everything, and like the ballad and album's first single "Cry Out To Jesus" suggests, He's only a prayer away. To some, Wherever You Are could appear idealistic, but the truth of the matter is, it's realistic, giving a hearty reminder to the listener that each and every time we fall, there's a Savior there to lift us right back up again.
Musically, Wherever You Are is a much more subdued effort than their previous project Wire. While rock producer Paul Ebersold helped the band craft the edgier Wire for mainstream exposure, Christian music industry veteran Brown Bannister guides Wherever You Are with a distinctly more contemporary feel. While the opening hit-bound "Tunnel," the rock-charged highlight "I Can Feel It" and the the anthemic closer "Rise Up" all bear an edgier element missing from most of the rest of the record, the more contemporary approach seems appropriate for the theme of the album. However, it's difficult not to hold these two albums side by side for comparison. Ebersold helped add a dimension to the songs on Wire that seemed to be missing from some of their more recent material and is mostly absent from Wherever You Are. But instead of having the music blast through your speakers, driving such a delicate message through your ear canals, there's a much-needed sensitivity and level of compassion that Bannister helps bring out through Third Day's songs.
Overall, Wherever You Are helps fill a void in the music scene. In a time where either mainstream is offering trite, empty ear candy, and a lot of Christian music is encouraging the believer to take an idealistic "don't worry, be happy" approach to life, Third Day's Wherever You Are meets the listener where they are at on a personal level. It may not be the band's best album to date, but it's certainly a good one, and an album to lift your spirits wherever you may be.- Review date: 10/29/05, written by John DiBiase
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