What once started out as a six-piece, more of an experience than a band, has according to their website been reduced by one half. Notably, Captiva is the first album released following the departure of guitarist Joseph Kisselburgh, who left the band to start The Send, which toured with Falling Up earlier this year. Still, with all of the member changes and departures, it would seem fitting that perhaps the sound would be reduced by half as well, or at least significantly changed, however that is not the case. This may be in part because former members Micah Sannan and Adam Taylor did not depart until after the recording process. Upon the release of Captiva on October 2nd however, only three members remain. Thankfully, Falling Up rocks on.
From the start, the similarities between all three of Falling Up's albums can be seen. The same experimental, sometimes electronic pop rock is still very present throughout, making this album a very pleasant but familiar listen. Captiva, just like the previous two, starts out slow. Unlike Dawn Escapes and Crashings, however, the first song, "A Guide to Marine Life," does not gain speed and energy, but rather stays subdued and gives off a very melodic and almost atmospheric vibe. The same could be said for the rest of the record. While all very much in the same style as their previous efforts, Captiva finds Falling Up more mellow than ever before. Elements of rapcore and harder rock are almost non-existent. Don't think of this as a bad change though. Falling Up's previous releases found them producing very decent harder, even rap-rock at times, and yet it was always the more melodic songs in which they truly shined. Returning listeners to Falling Up know this, and those that don't understand need to go back and enjoy their first two records.
Even though some of the edge may be lost, it is clear that the passion isn't. Songs such as "Hotel Aquarium," "Goodnight Gravity," and "Murexa," while clearly upbeat, are no more passionate than ballads such as the opening track "A Guide to Marine Life," and the album's closer "The Dark Side of Indoor Track Meets." Captiva just gets better with every listen. Lyrically, Falling Up continues to stay strong, pointing listeners to Christ and offering the hope that He gives. Songs such as "Maps" are outright when vocalist Jessy Ribordy sings, "the further from you, the harder I try to exist (take these blinds from my eyes and wake me from the inside). Somebody tell me how did it come to this? (take these blinds from my eyes and wake me from the inside)" Other songs such as "Good Morning Planetarium," are outright as well with the "He" referring to Christ in "I know He's finding every lost and broken dream." While not every song is outwardly about Christ, there is no question to who Falling Up follows and has given their lives to.
Captiva may require a few listens to adjust to Falling Up's slower sound, but there is no reason it should be written off as a low moment in their career. In fact, it is this difference that makes this album so great.- Review date: 9/28/07, written by Flip Choquette
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