Thieves & Liars are back again? It did not seem long ago when Facedown Records' imprint label Dreamt Music released the band's freshmen album When Dreams Become Reality in early 2008. Although their debut release was not a big commercial success in both Christian and secular markets, the album received excellent reviews from several hard rock editorials and websites who praised the band for bringing back classic 1970's and 80's rock n' roll from the dead. After more than a year of touring in support of When Dreams Become Reality, the three boys decided to head back into the studio to record a second album. After debating what they would do next, Thieves & Liars released their sophomore effort, American Rock N' Roll.
The most noticeable change on American Rock N' Roll is the album's length. Ten songs clocking the album under 35 minutes, less than half of the length of When Dreams Become Reality, is what will surprise fans the most. The Pink Floyd-influenced rockers, which lasted more than 5 to sometimes 9 minutes and dominated most of the previous album, are unexpectedly gone on American Rock N' Roll. While this can be a big disappointment to some fans of the group, this was actually a smart choice for Thieves & Liars because it allowed them to capitalize on their well established Led Zeppelin-meets-AC/DC hard rock sound. Corey Edelman is superb as always and Jimmy Page would be smiling if he ever gets the opportunity to listen to American Rock N' Roll from start to finish. Joey Bradford's voice will probably take some time for listeners to get used to due to the fact that he can have a very scratchy voice during the chorus of songs like "Walking By My Side" and "Let's Rock." However, Joey does not do anything vocally that would detract from the music on this album.
Lyrically, When Dreams Become Reality was a concept record centering on the Old Testament story of Joseph, son of Jacob, but American Rock N' Roll centers around one key point: praising and living a life for Jesus Christ through good old fashion rock n' roll. "Walking By My Side" speaks about the spiritual journey of a new believer wanting to praise the King of Kings, "King Jesus is all, My all in all and I know He'll answer me when I call, Walking by my side, I'm satisfied." Other tracks like "Fight Song" speak about staying strong in the faith, "When times get rough, Storm that battlefield again, Hold strong and stand your ground, Move on and don't back down, Fight on until the final round, Put your faith upon the Rock." At first it was a little disturbing to hear the track "Killed A Man" because it is literally about a murderer running from justice, but the song has the man confessing his sins to God before all is said and done, "I'm trying to find the right way, Praying that I'm not too late, Oh Lord please save me, His brother's after me, Oh Lord I killed a man today, and I sent his body to the grave."
What more needs to be said? Thieves & Liars has created a much better rock album that will become more accessible to those who love Led Zeppelin. The band has taken all of the good high points from When Dreams Become Reality and capitalized on them so that the Pink Floyd influences are completely gone. It does not matter if you are a Christian or not because if you love classic 1970's hard rock music, there is no excuse for not having American Rock N' Roll in your music collection. If you hate classic rock, steer clear.- Review date: 9/11/09, written by Fred Keel of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Dreamt Music
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