After departing Essential Records in 1999/2000, All Star United all but fell off the map. Since then, all supporting band members have left and been replaced, but the heart and soul of ASU, Ian Eskelin has remained. In 2002, after inking a deal with Delirious?' own label Furious? Records, All Star United first released Revolution, their first new full-length record in almost 4 years, in the United Kingdom. So with all these changes that All Star has endured, can we still expect the All Star United we've come to know and love?
"We Are the Future" opens Revolution, an upbeat raw pop rock track with a similar feel and sound to what we've come to know All Star to create. The feel of Revolution differs greatly from previous recordings with it's raw, arguably slightly under-produced presentation. Eskelin doesn't rely on production here to liven up the songs, but his excellent songwriting. The fun that we've come to expect from All Star is still here, but a growth and maturity is also present. "Let It Rain" is a solid rock song that is driven by electrics and complimented by acoustics and Eskelin's worshipful lyrics. The title cut is a catchy and addictive anthem while "Sweet Jesus" stands out as probably the brightest gem of the project as Eskelin pours his heart out to our Savior. "In my fast-paced life, it's easy sometimes to just cruise on auto-pilot and leave God out of the picture," Eskelin says of the song. "'Sweet Jesus' was written on my roof-top in Nashville, and it's an actual moment of getting reaquainted with my best friend, Jesus." The melodic song pleads, "Sweet Jesus, wash over me / Would come and sweep me off of my feet, please / It's been two long weeks since You've heard me speak / And I was hoping that You might like to meet me..."
While their 1998 record International Anthems for the Human Race was at times more aggressive and at others more relaxed, it wasn't as tight and unified as Revolution presents itself. "Over a couple of years I had written about 30 songs," says Eskelin in a recent Jesusfreakhideout.com interview, "but knew I only wanted 10 on the record. I wanted to trim the fat and make a concise listen-able CD with no tracks to skip." Upon listening to the album, the listener will find this to be true. While sadly short in some ways, Revolution is well assembled and fails to feature a weak moment.
"Made In Heaven" is a beautiful pop love tune with driving acoustics while "You Can Count On Me" follows in a similar vein. "Global Breakdown" is a surprisingly upbeat song that serves as Ian's response to the events of September 11th, "When worlds collide / and turn to dust / it's You I trust / in a global breakdown..." Revolution then closes with "Weirdo," a signature sarcastic and fun ASU song.
Revolution marks the firm return of a band with far too much to offer to stay away from the CCM scene for too long. All Star United is back, people.- Review date: 6/12/02, written by John DiBiase
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