Back in 1996, ska bands were starting to pop up all around the country and soon flooded over to MTV and other music networks. Several bands were leading this wave such as: No Doubt, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and one that surprised many, The blatantly Christian O.C. Supertones. Jason Carson (Drummer) and Matt Morginski (Singer/guitar) started the band in the early 90's and called it Saved, later adding bassist Tony Terusa and proceeding to dabble in the syles of grunge, funk, disco and metal with none seeming to work. But they soon came across a style known as ska and it stuck. They added a trumpet player named Darren Metler and a saxophone player named Dave Chevalier becoming the O.C.Supertones. After a year of touring the USA, the band was signed to Tooth and Nail Records and began recording their debut CD, after recording was finished, Matt handed over the duty of guitar to a man named Kevin Chen.
Adventures kicks off with "Adonai" (which means "Lord") and was used to substitute for the ineffable name of God. The song is an upbeat anthem about, not one thing, but a bunch of ideas all thrown together. Other than its bass line, the next song, "Who Can Be Against Me?" doesn't sound too different from "Adonai." One of the song's most memorable moments is the end where a cool saxophone solo leads into Matt singing, "God look at me I'm just a man, but You tell me I'm not just a man. So hard to understand, after all I'm just a man..." It may sound odd at first, but this line really hits deep. "Never Wanna Fall" is a story of conviction against alcohol and lust with chorus pleading to God, asking Him to never allow them to fall. "Roots" gives us a slow ska song with some pretty interesting horn work. "Heaven" is quite a silly number with great lyrics, "Our tickets are all paid to heaven that God made so goodbye blue monday, no pain on Sunday."
Arguably one of the best songs on the album is "He Will Always Be There." This four-minute-long track is extremely diverse, starting off on the aggressive side, eventually turning soft and then escalating into an even harder ending. In the escalating period, the lyrics say, "I count on God, I love him best, helps me through my trials and tests. Always be there when I call, always catch me when I fall." On the next song, I found it hard to tell if Matt was singing with a girl doing background vocals or if it was a guy, but none the less, "Exalt" is a real groovy tune, with a kind of hymn feel and the beat offers a sort of tango style. "Found" is an energetic song all about Saul's conversion into Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. The next song busts right into a nice horn-driven opening with a mini speech from Matt explaining who the band is. The first half of "OC Supertones" explains their purpose and message, the second half describes what they think a former Christian really is, "If you used to be a Christian then you never was, just sittin' up in church and sayin' what a Christian does!." However, the best line from this album is, "King David my great grandfather was a dancer; King Solomon my great grandfather a romancer. Jesus came from Jesse, but Jesse came from Jesus, now come to the Lord Jesus, cause Lord Jesus frees us!." Matt's Jewish heritage is shown off in "I Love God," a real rocker while "Blood Washed Pilgrim" ends this ground breaking album. Comparing it to the other lyrics on this album, it's quite advanced and wouldn't surprise me if it had really been a cover song. "Psalms of victory, crown of glory, psalms of victory, I shall win!" is cantillated in the chorus, with background Sax playing making the song complete.
All in all, Adventures of the O.C. Supertones is an impressive debut for a ska band that would leave a lasting impression on their listeners in more ways than one. And, in a lot of ways, this was just the beginning of greater things ahead.- Review date: 3/24/03, written by Joshua Encinias
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