Thursday, June 21, 2007

Album Review: Canvas Tears

Canvas Tears has taken the Contact from a band that I liked and listened to occasionally to a band whose music I really enjoy listening to. The change from their first full length album to their sophomore release is astronomical. The first noticeable difference is the overall production of the album. The sounds are crisper and the whole thing just sounds better. You can definitely tell which artists have influenced the band. While their first album had more of a U2esque sound, this one has more hints of Radiohead, Muse, and Keane. On a personal level I was very excited for this album as I talked to Geoff about the album every couple weeks when I went to HMV, and occasionally Jordan and Tim. It was cool hearing what stages the songs were at in their writing, who was tweaking the album and where the album was being mastered, and just seeing how excited the band were about making this music. There was definitely a lot of work put into the album and it really shows. I also appreciate the way the band were willing to take more risks with this album. The songs aren't the exactly what you are used to hearing in the Christian music scene. More experimental, more risks, willing to go to places they wouldn't go before.

Black Sea - The first song released for radio play and also one of the first tracks put on their myspace as a demo. A powerful opening to the album, with great lyrics that offer hope as we pass through the "black sea". And I must say I absolutely love the string accompaniment and Jordan's sonic attack on the eardrums towards the end of the song.

Canvas Tears - The title track from the album, the first few times I heard it on their website I was not impressed. But after hearing it on the album that has changed. Lyrically I like it, talking about a war I interpret both in a worldly way (Iraq, Sudan, etc.) and a Spiritual way. And the part at the end where the song fades out and comes back makes me happy.

If I Fall - The opening choppy guitars remind me of Radiohead circa The Bends. A great sing-along song.

Waiting For the Light - A very happy, encouraging, uplifting, and hope-filled track. Another song with great lyrics.

Major Tom (Coming Home) - A cover of a Peter Schilling song, and the band do it justice. Generally I'm not a fan of covers, but this song sounds like it was written for the Contact. They bring life to the song. Jordan's keys really stand out as well as Geoff's piercing guitars.

Where Do I Go? - One of the first songs off the new album I heard and it was a real promising track that I find sums up their new sound quite well. The Muse influence really shows with guitar and Geoff's high vocals at the end.

Could This Be the End of the Hiding? - I don't even know where to start, definitely my favourite song on the album. A great piano riff throughout, great backing vocals and production. 2:25 is when I just fall in love with the song. Down and down and down again.....

Easy To Die And Hard To Live - I haven't been able to get into the track. Maybe its too slow and too peaceful for me. The title is so true though.

My Divine - An awesome intro to the sound, more of that riskier/experimental sounds I was talking about.

Anthem of A Refugee - Tim gets to shine at the beginning (and throughout) with an awesome opening bass line.

Daylight - Well I've talked about how every member of the band has shined at one point or other on the album. Well all except for Nathan. His drumming in this song is exceptional, not to mention throughout the whole album. Yet another thing that I think has really improved the Contacts sound is the addition of this great drummer. I really noticed his drumming when I saw them live.

Return to the Sea - With all these songs about the sea, you'd think they are a Great Big Sea tribute band. A great sounding acoustic track, a sound the Contact can pull of very well which shows their diversity.

Wake Up - Perhaps the most powerful lyrics on the entire album. An honest cry out and call to wake up. Listen to the song on myspace, it is outstanding, one of the best songs I've heard all year.

The Verdict:
Black Sea - 5
Canvas Tears - 4
If I Fall - 4.5
Wait For Light - 4
Major Tom (Coming Home) - 5
Where Do We Go? - 4
Could This Be the End of the Hiding? - 5
Easy To Die And Hard To Live - 2
My Divine - 3.5
Anthem of a Refugee - 3.5
Daylight - 5
Return of the Sea - 3.5
Wake Up - 5

Final Rating 4.15/5

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