Southern rock is what Atlanta-based quintet phenomenon Third Day has become known for. Their catchy self-titled debut thrust them into the spotlight and their edgier follow-up Conspiracy No. 5 established the act as a force to be reckoned with. Their third effort, the wonderful but much more tame Time, took the band in another direction, departing from the edgy flavor they'd whet fans appetites with. What followed were two modern pop/rock worship albums, a couple live DVD's, and the more contemporary radio-friendly and experimental project Come Together. 2004 sees the release of the band's fifth all-studio recording, resurrecting the band's edgy side while continuing to develop their sound further in ways still very familiar to the Third Day fanbase.
What's different about Wire from previous efforts, is Third Day offers a more raw musical backdrop to Mac Powell's flawless vocals while giving it a polish that supplies more power to the mix rather than holding it back. With each record, Third Day has continued to build onto the foundation they've laid musically and Wire is that sturdy next layer in the structure. Lyrically, Wire is a more accessible endeavor. While the two Offerings albums were overflowing with modern worship that broke out of the established and contained genre of worship, Wire isn't nearly as forward. Touching on relevant themes and handling them in a subtle yet effective fashion will appear to a few as selling out, but in reality is a gesture that aids in keeping Third Day from boxing themselves in. But while the spirituality isn't as bold and forefront as on previous efforts, their faith still shines through on Wire. Regardless, the presence of such powerful Third Day worship classics like "My Hope Is You," "Give," and "Show Me Your Glory" is unmistakably missed.
Third Day's last studio effort, Come Together, saw further musical experimentation featuring Gospel choirs, electronic beats, and an overall less-southern direction than what the band normally goes for. While this worked for the most part, the album missed the classic Third Day sound loud and clear. But from the opening acoustic guitar of "'Til The Day I Die" on Wire, an opening delightfully reminiscent of Conspiracy's "Peace," the listener is greeted with an updated classic Third Day sound. But even the more modern rock gloss to the ballad title track, clearly a highlight on the album, isn't a typical composition for them. The captivating melodies of the chorus are further strengthened by a string arrangement and David Carr's commanding drum presence. While polished and solid in their production, there still remains a sensitivity to the delectable songwriting on Wire. The versatility of the album spans widely thematically and musically from the forceful sounds of "Rockstar," a song highlighting the struggles of wanting to be something significant in the world, to the triumphant rock ballad "Innocent" that celebrates redemption through Christ. The songwriting on Wire is, in many ways, more complex than previous albums but doesn't compromise its relativity.
Wire is a diehard Third Day fan's dream, as well as a wonderful rock album. Third Day returns to its roots and takes it a step further with maturity and confidence. Wire is easily one of the best albums to release this year and well worth a listen for fans and non alike.- Review date: 5/4/04, written by John DiBiase
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