So far, it's been a very good year for Christian music. How to Live With A Curse, the new album from Stavesacre, is the band's first full-length release in nearly four years. This SoCal-based rock group is not a band that shrouds religious topics in secular songs; they want you to know, more than once or twice, how important Christ is to them. Lead singer Mark Salomon sings with such honesty about Christ, and the other subjects brought up throughout the album's duration. While sometimes this proved distracting because music needs to rhyme and flow at least a little, the overall feel of the disc was straightforward and truthful, something that there is all too little of in the industry.
"Reason to Believe," is a cool way to start an album. The track plays as if to welcome the band into your speakers with a slow, sweeping intro, gradually getting louder until the lyrics start. In this song, Salomon brings up Christians' dissatisfaction with things around them and why bad things happen to good people. He sings, "I've wasted so much time coming up with questions, asking 'Why?' has never answered much for me. And really who am I, to know the feel, the weight, of burden. When was I promised simplicity?". This track works to reaffirm Christians that they are not alone in their trials, and that they should focus on believing in Christ, rather than focusing on their own problems.
Sealing with the title of the album, I found the majority of the songs on the disc to deal with humanity's imperfections (Sin), in the sight of Christ. "Grace," one of the more lengthy tracks on the record, questions the boundaries of God's grace, "Grace, are you hangin' on for me? Tell me it's true, you still do. Come back around this way." While still dealing with sin, the track further goes to show that God's grace will always be there for us.
Besides a guitarist, and that really cannot be noticed, nothing has changed in the Stavesacre camp. These guys really know how to rock, and are not afraid to do so. However, How to Live With A Curse, and Stavesacre in general, are not the most accessible objects in the Christian-rock scene. Not that the music is lacking in quality, but these songs just do not seem to have been recorded with radio in mind. Rather, the tracks tend to exuberate a very underground, indie kind of feel. While this severely hinders the group's marketability cross-genre, all hard rock fans alike will sure enjoy this new album from one of Christian music's most enduring, and determined groups.- Review date: 4/17/06, written by Andrew Shaw
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