Review Summary: Whoever has said the phrase, “Christians don't know how to rock” only need to pick up this album and be proven wrong.
I know there's already a review on this record, but I felt the need to give this album the credit it is due. Coming from Arkansas, The Wedding releases its 2nd record on Brave New World Records (formerly Rambler Records). In most people's opinions that have listened to The Wedding's first effort in 2005, the self-titled release was a strong pop punk/alt. rock album. Two years down the road we are blessed with “Polarity,” and I can tell you, I like where these guys are headed.
When I first put this record in, I wasn't sure I was listening to the same band. The sound of the music was the same, punching guitars, a nice bass hook, but the vocals...it didn't even sound like the same lead singer. I scanned the lyric booklet and sure enough, Kevin Kiehn is still at the vocal helm of the band. I don't know what happened to him over the last two years, but man, these vocals are powerful. He can go from pop to punk to rock and yes, he can even throw in the yells and screams all while making it fit perfectly into the music.
The music in this album has a wide range of artistic styles. The opening track, “The Call” is a 47 second intro (these intros seem to be getting more popular) with a horn section that gradually builds into the first great punching guitar hook for the opening song “Say Your Prayers.” The pop/rock anthem sounding song ends and then a faint bagpipe can be heard building up into the next alt/rock track “I'll Sleep When I'm Dead.” Here we hear a lot of joint band yelling “Hey, hey, hey!”
From there this album goes on to more pop/catchy rock and then slows way down with the piano driven “I-540.” Kiehn plays the piano masterfully, while a string section accompanies in the background. The song builds throughout until Keihn builds up his vocals and shows a little home state pride with the line, “Keep moving forward till we've gone too far, but we left our hearts way back in Arkansas!” The music comes to a climax and the song switches to an amazing blend of a full band with the piano still driving and the strings still floating the song along. When the song ends, you almost forget about The Wedding's ability to just “rock out” and feel like you have just got done listening to a different band.
They quickly remind you how they rock with one of the stand-out tracks, “It's Time to Rock (OK?).” The whole song is littered with amazing, chunky, distorted guitar riffs, beefy bass lines and Kiehn switches the vocals to “gravel mode” and yell/sings through most of the song. The rest of the album is like a roller coaster, switching between ups and downs, highs and lows, soft and hard, but the whole time never fails to disappoint vocally, musically and I almost forgot to mention, lyrically.
The lyrics of this whole album burst at the seams with these guys' faith. They drive home some excellent points in their music, but make it all so much fun to listen to and leave you with something to really think about when it's all said and done. In the opening song, “Say Your Prayers,” the band shouts an anthem in the bridge of the track:
“Look at this broken world
Look at my children, oh
Look at this broken world
Look at my children, oh
Cause they're angels
Sing to me the love song
Say your prayers on the steps of the capital
Say your prayers on your knees
Say your prayers
Say your prayers”
In “I'll Sleep When I'm Dead,” Kiehn says a very simple truth, “Today I stopped asking what it means and just believed. You gotta believe; right now. And now the truth of it is we already got all that we'll ever need.” Whoever has said the phrase, “Christians don't know how to rock” only need to pick up this album and be proven wrong.
The whole layout of the album and the song arrangements are done perfectly in a way that gives the listener something to enjoy from start to finish. In fact, the whole album plays out like one giant song in and of itself, climaxing half way through with “It's Time to Rock (OK?)” and bringing you slowly down from there. The song ends with an “average” track, “Fireworks,” but after its brief 3 minutes are up, hang on (or fast-forward) another 5 ½ minutes to the hidden track, where it sounds like the guys are all sitting in a living room socializing and then they each take turns singing an improved song about Arkansas. It's a little hokey, but a lot of fun to listen to. The hidden track makes an excellent point for these guys and what they are going for. They are serious musicians, but they do this because they love it and have fun doing it.
What The Wedding gives you is 14 tracks (almost a full hour) of solid pleasure and something that will leave you in a great mood when your done listening. For $10 (plus free shipping) on the Brave New World Records website (www.bravenewworldrecords.com), why would you not buy this album? Give it a try, you're bound to like what you hear. Listen to The Wedding at www.myspace.com/thewedding or www.purevolume.com/thewedding
Pros: This album is a great value, the music is energetic and fun and the vocals and lyrics will leave the average listener with something to think about.
Cons: Nothing revolutionary here. Solid formula in music, but nothing that hasn't been done before.
Stand-out Tracks: “Say Your Prayers,” “Staring at the Light,” “I-540,” “It's Time to Rock (OK?),” “Schizophrenia,” and “Revelation.”