Gotee Records' Stephanie Smith finally released her debut album at the very end of 2008, after multiple pushbacks (It was originally slated for a Fall 2007 release). And apparently she wasted no time getting back into the studio. This five-song EP comes almost a year after Not Afraid's release, but it's evident that Smith wants to come back strong.
While Not Afraid was mostly a slew of pop/rock songs in the vein of Superchick and Krystal Meyers, this new self-titled EP is a reinvention, if you will, of Stephanie's musical direction. Instead of the all-too-familiar pop/rock sound, Stephanie has gone with a full fledged "chick rock" style for this EP. Four of the five songs are very edgy, with a style more similar to Fireflight or Čowyn.
From the EP's get-go, the rollicking "Back To Innocence" and "Heart Attack" immediately show a more mature side of Stephanie. The honesty and vulnerability in the lyrics are a big highlight of the EP, picking up right where "In My Eyes" and "First Words" left off. "If You Really Want…" may seem like a misstep to some listeners, but it's actually a poppy, quirky track with some really bold lyrics about living the Christian life. The best song on the EP is probably the final track, "Joshua," which uses the Biblical story of Jericho as a metaphor for brokenness, with lyrics like "Come and break me down/Won't you march around these walls/Burn them to the ground."
Although Stephanie's genre of music may not be the most unique, her openness and boldness really set her apart from other CCM acts. Stephanie Smith's inner rocker really shines with this EP, and it's a direction I hope is kept for her sophomore album.- Review date: 2/6/10, written by Matthew Watson
Record Label: Gotee Records
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