With three albums and a greatest hits disc under their belt, Spoken signed onto the hottest label is Christian music, Tooth & Nail Records. This immediately means more exposure as well as much better production quality, both of which, for this band, is well overdue. And with A Moment of Imperfect Clarity, Spoken takes advantage of their new ground by taking things in a new direction.
Gone are the days of the never-ending screaming that comprised the whole of Spoken's previous efforts (They made it quite accessible even to those who don't appreciate the hardcore genre). Matt Baird's vocal agonies almost take a back seat in his effort to bring more melody to the music. His vocals take some time to get used to; but once you do, it's quite good. Sure, the screams are still there. It wouldn't be Spoken without them. But they are mostly present in the chorus rather than the entire song. Yes, they've done this in the past, but never with this amount of intensity and frequency. The vocals are really all that have changed when it comes to the musical style of the band. They play the same loud riffs they always have.
Lyrically, Spoken does it again. Deep, powerful lyrics make this a compelling album to listen to. They deal with a lot of love, but the message of God is, as always, never watered down and takes up most of the space on A Moment of Imperfect Clarity. They deal with the sadness of being away from a loved one on "Sleep Well Tonight" and there are a couple other tracks that could be interpreted as romantic love, but they could just as soon be thought of as love songs to God. The more blatant tracks are what make this one a winner. "A Breath in the Fog" states "I'll keep my eyes on You. My dreams may not come true. I may fall on my face. Still my hope is in You." While "In My Dreams (I Sometimes See You)" begins to doubt God's watchful eye in a world of pain, the chorus proclaims, "Heaven opened wide, and I could see the Glory of God shining through my cloud of doubt, shining through this hell that I've made."
My personal favorite track comes right before the album's close. "Remembered" talks of the usual way we treat God in our lives when we're walking away from Him. "There was a time you would speak to me when you needed something from me. Now, it's you turn to crucify me. Your flesh seems stronger than your love for me. Your flesh cries out only for a moment." Very moving and touching. This is by far Spoken's best lyrical work to date.
But who am I kidding? This is Spoken's best work to date, period. It's a bit mellower than previous records, but it shouldn't matter too much to anyone because it is simply amazing. It still won't appeal to those who don't appreciate them in the first place, but, for the rest of us, this is a treasure to behold.- Review date: 9/16/03, written by Josh Taylor
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