Influenced by the "1970's Jesus Music Movement," Cleveland, Ohio's The Sunrise have been compared to such artists as The Resurrection Band and Wilco. James Mileti's vocals could also be described as some odd combination of Guns & Roses frontman Axl Rose and White Stripes vocalist Jack White (the song "Don't Tell Me That You're Spiritual" definitely has a bit of a White Stripes feel to it). Their album, Spread the Word, does just that - spreads the Word of God through the ambient acoustic structuring of their songs. The lyrics found on Spread the Word do a good job keeping the focus on God, despite not really offering a great deal of depth. "I Have Freedom" revels in the knowledge of the freedom He offers from the world ("I have freedom, I have peace of mind, 'cause I got God on my side"). This song is also a good example of the limitations of Mileti's vocals. It was typical for this style omusic, so it shouldn't throw off anybody who visits this style on a regular basis, but critically speaking, the vocals need some work. However, it does sound like he could have a stronger singing voice if another style of music was in play here. In the midst of the Christ-centered songs, Mileti also throws in a song called "I Love My Wife." It's rather corny, also with not much depth in the lyrics, but I find it hard to think that Mileti's wife (The Sunrise's background vocalist Rebecca Mileti) wouldn't be smitten by the song. Overall, Spread the Word is a good choice for fans of Christian music from the '70s, but from a critical standpoint, it has more flaws than strengths. But those who grew up with The Resurrection Band and 2nd Chapter of Acts may want to give The Sunrise a listen.
- Review date: 7/14/10, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com