Dave catches up...again. You know how I roll.

Posted by WBFJ | | Posted on 10:33 PM

As KJ would say, here's a shout out to all the fellas and ladies who have been missing my thoughts on music for the past couple of weeks. I'll try to do better about posting. That's all I can promise.

Two weeks ago my "Beat of the Week" belonged to The Silver Cord by The Classic Crime. The first time I spun this disc I became incredibly excited by its initial hooks and by its potential to grow on me. In fact I had the thought that I might be listening to one of my top 2-3 CDs of 2008. I still hold to that opinion musically and lyrically (mostly) but there's one big drawback for me. More on that later.

What I love about this CD is that a lot of the songs deal with the hopelessness of trusting in ourselves. There's an ache in these lyrics that draws the heart to the Creator. Examples include "Abracadavers" with this indictment of a chorus: "We're all the same/made of hair and bones and water and blood cells/And we're all to blame/For spending way too much time on ourselves." "God And Drugs" is a song that could actually apply to any of our addictions that keep us from seeing the love of Christ clearly. Check it out: "It's a constant reminder of what I can and cannot have/The smell, the taste, it's all so fake/The truth is what I lack/So I will keep on running and keep my head above the ground/And I will look for you in places you cannot be found."

Gems like these are in abundance on The Silver Cord which, by the way, gets its title from the supposed mythical cord separating life from death. You can find a scriptural reference in Ecclesiastes 12:6. However, it's in the very last song, ironically called "The Beginning (A Simple Seed)" that I find a dilemma. The song finds the band missing the West Coast and the comforts of home. Most of the song is about longing for the company of a girl. No problem with that. It's natural. But in the very end of the song there's a line that says, "'Cause every time I'm close to the Holy Ghost/I always seem to let HER go." Here's my question. Are they referring to the girl or are they giving the Holy Ghost a feminine quality? If it's the former, I'm okay with it. If it's the latter, I have a big problem with it because the scripture is very clear on this point. It's a dangerous and unsettling thing to play around with the nature of the Godhead. I'll give the band the benefit of the doubt and admit that I don't know the answer to my question. If anyone has heard the song I'd welcome any insight you have on it. I really want this record to be in my year end list but I have to stand my ground until I get some clarity.

To check out The Classic Crime go to http://www.theclassiccrime.com/ or www.myspace.com/theclassiccrime.

Now on to last week's "Beat." Conveniently enough it comes from a band whose lead singer will be our guest on Crossroad Radio this Friday night. You may remember that I loved Ruth's debut Secondhand Dreaming. Ruth and Wavorly were my top two new bands of '07. With a debut that good, a sophomore slump would be expected and almost excusable. After all, how do you top greatness?

How about with perfection? Okay, I won't go that far but Anorak simply blows Secondhand Dreaming away in all phases. The hooks are more memorable and engaging, the band exudes a good swagger needed to make the next step, and, best of all, the songwriting approaches Jon Foreman-esque levels at times. Ruth spent some time on the road with Switchfoot last year (if you remember, Deke and I shared the stage with them at the Joel Coliseum) and apparently learned a thing or two about songcrafting. Truth be told, Dustin Ruth's vocal delivery owes more than a passing nod to Foreman. That's a good thing in my book.

Having said that, Ruth is no carbon copy of anyone. The jangly guitar rock of their debut is still evident on Anorak so there's no worry that they're trying to become something they're not. The band weds that style to lyrics that suggest that they're just trying to figure out what God is doing. "Miracle Photo" is a song somewhat inspired by the tour with Switchfoot (and Relient K) which finds Dustin expressing a childlike wonder with "Would someone please write this down?/Would someone please take a photograph?/'Cause I am watching a miracle that I don't want to forget." How unbelievably refreshing and rare to hear a band be this candid and drop all pretense of entitlement!

The wonder displayed in this song also shows up in "Forgetting To Remember" as Ruth sings "How could you know what I think without saying a thing?/And you feel what I feel when my heart skips a beat/And you know where I'm going before I see a thing...you amaze me." "Who I Was And Who I Am" (currently in rotation on Crossroad Light ;) by the way) is quite possibly the hardest charging song Ruth has put on record to date. It's a powerful beat for a powerful message of liberation through Christ. "Dead Giveaway" echoes Romans 1:18-20 with "White lines on the highway looking out across the landscape/My eyes see your fingerprints/See all that your hands made/It should have been a dead giveaway/These reflections that you give us to show us your face."

Anorak (listen to our interview with Dustin to get the explanation of the title) should move Ruth up a few rungs on the ladder if it gets a fair shake at radio nationwide. In a crowded field of up and coming bands, Ruth has all the goods to pull away.

Go to www.myspace.com/ruthrock if you're Anorak enough.

Comments (0)