Hitting the Christian music scene on the same record label as the Jeremy Camp and Kutless, Seven Places makes their debut with a melodic rock album that isn't half bad. According to the band's website, they are "a ministry driven, evangelistic rock band with very legitimate music. You will be hooked by this sound and the lyrics. In a time when so many bands place the mark of legitimacy on mainstream success, Seven Places is interested in an alter call." This mentality and goal comes through in their lyrics. Although frequently repetitive, each song on the album is clearly focused on worshiping God. While some Christian bands seemingly prefer to allude to Christ and avoid mentioning Him directly (for whatever reason, not that this is necessarily wrong), Seven Places has no qualms about calling out to Jesus in worship or singing about exactly what He came here for. As for how they measure up sonically, the vocal quality of singers Seth Gilbert and Tyler Jones is excellent. At times they'll almost sound like Matt Thiessen of Relient K while, at others they'll resemble Jon Foreman of Switchfoot. Either way, these guys sound great. As for the guitarists and drummer, they are also professional grade. Probably my biggest beef is the drums, however. While Jeffrey Gilbert is certainly not bad, I personally don't like the soft-sounding drums he uses and he could probably vary his beats a little more.
The album begins with "Yours," which nicely sets the stage for the rest. It's upbeat and fairly catchy, although the lyrics leave a little to be desired artistically. "Landslide" features good vocals and is a great sounding song about turning to God in our fear and helplessness. "Everything" is a simple, vertically-focused track. The catchy "Like it Never Happened" is about God's forgiveness giving us a clean slate. "It Might be Today" is one of the more tightly crafted songs on the album about Christ's second coming being at any time (from the perspective of the rapture). One of the more melodic songs on the album, "Along the Way," is a really nice track that showcases the skill of the lead singer. "Lonely for the Last Time" is another great song about the security we feel after the the walls between us and Christ have been removed. "Thinking it Over" and "Into Your Heart" are fairly good, the former having some cool guitar riffs and the latter having probably the best drums on the album, although neither quite has the complete musical package. "Stay the Same" is alright, although not one of the best songs on the album lyrically or musically. Like "Along the Way," "The Western Wall" is slower and has some great vocals. "Little" is a slow song totally focused on worship, with a nice instrumental latter half. Finally, the album concludes with "Awakening." This is not a song, but rather a short sermon perhaps given by their home church's pastor that describes what Christ went through for us while at the same time explaining the meaning behind the band's name. The sermon also has a great-sounding instrumental track in the background with a short vocal "da da" filler bringing the album to a close.
In conclusion, Lonely for the Last Time is certainly not a bad first release. With worshipful, Christ-centered lyrics and some catchy choruses, this album proves that Seven Places definitely has potential. However, it is not without flaws. The lyrics, by and large, are quite repetitive and could use a little less chorus and more verses. Additionally, the songs tend to all sound alike, with a couple of exceptions. The drums could use more variation as well, and perhaps a slightly "harder" set could be used next time? But despite these shortcomings, Lonely for the Last Time is an impressive debut album that gives us plenty of reasons to keep an eye (or more appropriately, an ear) on these Oregon rockers in the future.- Review date: 5/16/03, written by Brian Frantz
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