If "kainos" is the Greek term for new creation, then there isn't a better name for Southern Signal's latest artist to debut. Of course, married couples in contemporary Christian music are nothing new but a hitched duo with a strong rock edge like that of Kainos is a hard find. With that piece no longer missing in the Christian music industry, Ben and Hannah Stacy release their debut record Alive.
Alive takes off with the raging grunge rock of "Selfish Me," which is making a home on Christian rock radio and working it's way up the charts. That's no surprise considering the song's backing track bears a sound slightly reminiscent to that of Jeremy Camp's hit "Take My Life." Listeners may also take notice of the intro to "Miles Apart," which brings to mind Switchfoot's "Ammunition," before it cools down for a soft chorus. Unfortunately, though, as the album continues, some may get the feeling that lead vocalist Hannah Stacy tries to push her voice beyond her ability. This seems especially evident on cuts that are just too slow for the band's almost youthful exuberance and energy, such as "You & I Become Me" and "Center of My Everything."
Don't let those few tracks that come off as disappointing scare you away from the rest of the record. Guitarist Ben Stacy is consistently throwing in guitar solos to break from constant vocals. In addition, "Layin' It Down" will surely hit home with today's youth. Of course the upbeat rock number will attract a listener's ears, the lyrics based off of Romans 7:18, confessing that most would "Rather bang your head against a wall/ Instead of just layin' it down," should remind us that we must surrender everything to God.
Although Alive has it's own ups and downs, two tracks stand out against them all. First up is the title track, which boasts itself as a strong piano-carried, low-tempo rock ballad. The song's lyrics began as a love song that primary songwriter Ben Stacy wrote to his wife, but then took another turn as he realized that Christ's love is really the only thing that makes us truly alive- hence the records title. Following behind the softer sound of "Alive," is "Fade." The latter is crazy fun with it's surging guitars, upbeat rock rhythms, and lyrics that marvel at our Creator's love for us and at eternity. Both "Alive" and "Fade" work extremely well with Hannah's distinctive voice.
While Alive is not a perfect record, it is far from dead. With Ben and Hannah sharing vocal responsibilities (Hannah taking the majority of leads), Ben's guitar playing, and a full studio band to keep things going, it is enough to keep the typical music fan hanging on until the end of this disc. Still, there is plenty of room for Kainos to come into being on future endeavors.- Review date: 4/22/05, written by Lauren Summerford
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