Caedmon's Call is no stranger to Christian music. Although it has been over three years since their last album (Overdressed), the group is back in action with Raising Up The Dead. Caedmon's Call's latest endeavor again features Derek Webb (who is an original member who left for a time but is working with the band again), but in addition to lending his musical and vocal skills, this time he takes on the task of producing the album as well.
The genre can be boiled down to acoustic/folk pop, but the band does a sound job of adding musical diversity. There are multiple vocalists on the album from Webb to Cliff and Danielle Young. Webb's wife, Sandra McCracken, also lends her voice to multiple songs. The result of the many voices won't alienate listeners, but rather draws them in since the diversity is consistent to the genre the band runs with.
The acoustic feel shows up right away in the first track, "Sometimes A Beggar," which is a good acoustic-guitar driven ballad. The folksy pop tune "She" features Danielle Young's vocals and has a well rounded composition capped off by a catchy chorus. When Webb steps up in "Family," the complexities and the edge he brings to the album are fully realized in the convincing tune. His efforts on "God's Hometown" spur a series of ominous piano notes in a haunting acoustic song. The album does a solid job of holding the listener's attention with the piano fueled "Come With You," which is a nice mix of pop and folk music. The upbeat "Streets Of Gold" offers up the catchiest tune on the album and is one of the album's most easy going tracks. However, a couple of songs could have used some extra spicing up because "Dead Waits" and "Time Inside Out" fail to show anything unique or ear-catching. Likewise, Webb's guitar-driven title track never really utilizes its five minute running time to impress. And while Danielle's vocals are very strong on the finale, "Free," the long-winded track could have been a bit less repetitive.
The songwriting isn't what I would have expected from a band that has been producing music for over sixteen years. Although I wasn't anticipating over the top praise and worship songs, I can't say the somber and somewhat depressing tone of Raising Up The Dead was entirely expected either. For example, "Streets Of Gold" is written from the perspective of someone struggling with the present because he is without any piece of mind. Also, "God's Hometown" studies two lovers guilty of the same sin, believing that it may save them in the end. But Caedmon's Call's songs are well written (even if a bit vague at times), and they leave spiritual overtones throughout the album (like on "Sometimes A Beggar" - "take the time/think it through/30 coins can bury you"). "She" is a fun song about a girl who is always helping people and the lyrics on the title track, as well as "Free," have strong spiritual roots.
One can only wonder what the album might have sounded like without Derek Webb's personal touches. His solo efforts have spurred musical interest and lyrical controversy. And while nothing found on Raising Up The Dead is that ambitious or dramatic, the music can be incredibly intriguing at times and the lyrics just as interesting. All in all, Caedmon's Call's latest album is definitely a project acoustic/folk pop fans should look into, alongside Caedmon's Call fans.- Review date: 9/13/10, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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