Take The Afters, U2, the Killers, and Downhere, put them in a blender, and out will come 7 Spin's new Canadian band, Red Umbrella. The band's debut album, Wishing for Boardwalk, is thirteen tracks of melodic rock that is spiritual without being cliché.
The album begins with the mid-tempo, "Storm Warning." It is here listeners are first exposed to the band's use of imagery that runs throughout the album to express spiritual content. The album's second song, "Straight Jacket," turns up the volume and shows the band knows how to rock while "Already Won," reminds believers that the spiritual battle they face has already been conquered. The song is catchy without ever being too trite. Other subjects the album addresses are selfishness in "What About Me," having a changed life in "Run," and grace in "Saving Grace." The band chooses to be more indirect and poetic when expressing their faith in songwriting, a move that could help them catch the attention of secular markets. However, with lyrics like, "I wish life wasn't pain and I could learn to pray, oh Lord please teach me how," in the album's title track, "Wishing for Boardwalk," it is obvious where the band places its hope.
I must confess when I first listened to Wishing for Boardwalk, I did not know what to make of it. The vocals take some getting used to, and there is a retro feel to the album. However, it's an album that improves with each repeated listen. Red Umbrella is different from many Christian rock bands out today. Although some of the band's influences are obvious, they possess a distinct, consistent sound throughout the album without the record being boring. Red Umbrella is not afraid to be unique, and that is a trait many bands in Christian music could benefit from acquiring.- Review date: 4/24/06, written by Laura Nunnery
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