Grammatrain
Lonely House


4.5
superb

Review

by Austin USER (41 Reviews)
March 6th, 2013 | 8 replies


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist


Grammatrain was one of the many Christian rock bands that sprang up during the 90’s when the genre saw an explosion of popularity. Unlike most of those bands, however, these Seattle-based rockers played grunge music. It was little known that Christian music had its own Soundgarden, but Grammatrain earned that title with their fantastic debut album, Lonely House.

Musically Grammatrain more than held their own against their secular contemporaries. Lonely House is a testament to the great chemistry the band had, with each member of the three-piece group showing a high level of skill at his respective instrument. The interplay between the fuzzy basslines and the gritty guitar riffs is consistently impressive, only made better by the fittingly raw production. The album is also sufficiently diverse in style. There are fast and energetic rockers (Believe), darker mid-tempo tracks that would fit right on Superunknown (Lonely House), and poignant ballads (Need), all of which the band pulls off with ease, and in most cases with the addition of an impressive guitar solo.

Without a doubt the standout force on Lonely House is frontman Pete Stewart. He proves himself to be a talented vocalist, with an accessible yet gritty vocal style that fits the music perfectly. His lyrics are transparent and real, dealing with issues like hypocrisy, pain, loss, and doubting his faith, and they do so with intelligence and honesty. His vulnerability is really what makes Lonely House such a great album. It’s a much more realistic look at the Christian perspective than the perpetual optimism that is often associated with faith-based bands. There are certainly some spiritual themes in the lyrics, but they never sugarcoat anything or grow preachy. They simply present a man who is on his own journey, experiencing life and its hardships like everyone else.

Lonely House is an overlooked gem in 90’s rock, likely because it was marketed more toward the Christian crowd when it really held appeal for a broader audience than that. Rather than sounding like a carbon copy of popular grunge groups of the day with a Christian twist, Grammatrain created a unique album whose songwriting could stand up to that of its peers. With its hard-rocking songs, thoughtful lyricism, and great musicianship, Lonely House is easily one of CCM’s crowning achievements.



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user ratings (3)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
tiesthatbind
March 6th 2013


7374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Woot, 40 reviews.

Digging: xSPONGEXCOREx - How Tough Are Yah?

FiveLeavesLeft
March 6th 2013


9838 Comments


Happy 40th, man!

tiesthatbind
March 6th 2013


7374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks.

Ecnalzen
March 6th 2013


6537 Comments


The Christian version for soundgarden, eh? Lol, it seems there usually is a Christian version of most popular/mainstream bands.

"Without a doubt the standout force on Lonely House is frontman Pete Stewart, the band’s lead guitarist and vocalist. He proves himself to be a talented vocalist, with an accessible yet sufficiently gritty vocal style that fits the music perfectly."

This is a tiny gripe, but it feels like word vocalist shows up more than it needs here. You don't really need it in that second sentence since you are specifically pointing his vocal style in the latter half and have already mentioned his role in the previous statement. You could just say:

- He proves himself to be very talented with an accessible, yet gritty vocal style that fits the music perfectly. -

That was the only thing that really popped out to me. Nice review.

tiesthatbind
March 6th 2013


7374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, that does read funny now that you mention it. I'll fix that.

FiveLeavesLeft
March 7th 2013


9838 Comments


"The Christian version for soundgarden, eh? Lol, it seems there usually is a Christian version of most popular/mainstream bands."

Yeah, I always considered DC Talk to be the Christian version of The Beatles due to musical innovation/diversity and having such a huge impact on future Christian acts


Emim
March 12th 2013


26625 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

DC Talk is better than the Beatles ;)

Great review, Austin. This band needs more attention

tiesthatbind
March 12th 2013


7374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks man. I was surprised they weren't even in the database here.



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