September 4, 2008 - Dave's Beat of the Week

Posted by WBFJ | | Posted on 12:10 PM

Although it's become increasingly more common over the years for bands or artists in Christian music to find success in the mainstream (take P.O.D., Switchfoot, Red, and Jon McLaughlin for example) it's incredibly rare for a "secular" band to come out with overtly gospel lyrics and cross over to the Christian market.

Not that crossing over to the Christian market is their goal but Thrice weaves much more gospel and theology into The Alchemy Index Vols. III & IV: Air and Earth (Vagrant) than I'm accustomed to hearing lately on many releases specifically geared to the Christian listening audience.

I've had some interesting conversations on which of the four EPs that comprise The Alchemy Index (Fire and Water were released earlier this year) is actually the best. Arguments can be made for any of them but, for my money, Air and Earth are the best of the bunch. Dustin Kensrue, Thrice's lead singer, is very firmly a follower of Christ and makes no secret of it. His first solo record, Please Come Home came pretty close to being a worship record. Since he is Thrice's primary songwriter, he's able to take his beliefs and incorporate them into the ebb and flow of the band's ideas. More so on Earth than on Air but traces are evident on the breezy one too. You'll get some of Kensrue's political opinions on "Broken Lungs" and "The Sky Is Falling" as well as some Greek mythology as the band tells the story of Icharus' flight on "Daedalus" but it's on "Silver Wings" the closing song on this EP that Kensrue's beliefs come front and center. After tenderly singing from God's persepective about his faithfulness in the verses he ends with "And after all of this I am amazed, that I am cursed far more than I am praised."

That sets the stage for Earth which starts off with an acoustic paraphrase of the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13 in "Moving Mountains" before offering cautionary tales of sin and it's consequences in "Digging My Own Grave," which deals with willful sin ("Oh, don't I know I'm just digging my own grave? Can someone else please save myself from me?) and in "The Lion and The Wolf" which uses lines like "The lion's outside of your door/the wolf's in your bed" and "The wolf he howls/the lion does roar/the wolf lets him in/the lion runs in through the door/the real fun begins/as they both rush upon you and rip open your flesh/the lion eats his fill and then the wolf cleans up the mess" to convey the devastating results of the progression sin usually takes even when it starts small.

But it doesn't end there. Kensrue knows his Savior and that hope is available. He offers up the masterpiece of the entire four disc collection with the invitation of "Come All You Weary," a paraphrase of Christ's invitation to lay down our burdens. He sings "Come all you weary/who move through the earth/who've been spurned at fine restaurants and kicked out of church/I've got a couple of loaves/so sit down at my feet/lend me your ears/and we'll break bread and eat/Come all you weary/Come gather near me/find rest for your souls."


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