Since forming in 2002, Casting Pearls has worked to gain notoriety on their own by releasing two independent projects and performing shows around the nation. After building a growing fan base, this threesome has now signed with Inpop Records and prepared their first major label release, simply entitled Casting Pearls. Band frontman Bryan Olesen, who operates as Casting Pearls lead singer/guitarist is currently known as the lead guitarist for the Newsboys as well.
Some may expect Newsboys, namely Peter Furler's, involvement in Casting Pearls' career to force similarities between the two bands, but Casting Pearls' project doesn't even ring of the Christian music veterans' work. Production from Jason Burkum and Nathan Dantzler may have lent a hand here though. From the start of this self-titled record, comparisons to Sanctus Real are almost inevitable. Olesen even sounds remarkably similar to Sanctus Real's vocalist Matt Hammitt several times throughout Casting Pearls' ten-song course. While the band's sound isn't completely original, somehow the record still finds itself likable.
"Weighted," the project's debut single, as well as album opener, offers the first glimpse into Casting Pearls' musical vision. This vision is consistent, too, for most of this disc. Lively, optimistic rock numbers such as "Alright" (most recently released to radio), "Wastin' Time," and "All About Love" ensue, further showcase this trio's style. Casting Pearls most fun song is, by far, "Love's Done Everything," offering upbeat musical arrangements and Olesen's enthusiastic vocals. With a few notable exceptions, this album displays mostly a guitar-driven pop/rock vibe. Tracks that wander away from this sound include "Whole World in His Hands" (penned by popular worship songwriter Tim Hughes) and "You Alone," both which lay as much more acoustic based than the rest of Casting Pearls.
Despite this record being enjoyable for the overwhelming majority, there are still a few minor slip-ups. Occasionally the band buys into familiar lyrical content such as "I am Yours/You are mine" ("Loves Done Something"). Other times, Casting Pearls musical offerings seem almost a bit rough around the edges. These things are somewhat disappointing, but considering the direction of the band, there's no doubt Casting Pearls will exhibit more creativity and artistic growth on future projects.
Considering the growing popularity of Christian rock, it couldn't be a better time for Casting Pearls to make its first major appearance on the music scene. Will Casting Pearls be a withstanding force? While it is still too early to tell, this three-piece outfit is off to a great start. With a little bit of artistic discovery and growth, Casting Pearls has potential to release projects that will please listeners even more so in the future.- Review date: 8/12/05, written by Lauren Summerford
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