Whether you know it or not, you've heard Ten Shekel Shirt. Even if you don't listen to Christian music, yo've probably heard their songs. Their worship anthem "Meet with Me" became a camp favorite and many churches adopted the song as part of their praise and worship time. Then there is "Ocean," a song that, if you listen to Christian music, you are most likely familiar with.
Ten Shekel Shirt's debut release Much had a worship edge while not straying far from the band's pop/rock sound. The band makes their INO Records with Risk and moves in a more emo/rock direction while still managing to stay true to the band's familiar sound. However, the worship sound is basically gone. In fact, while all but one track on their debut had to do with God, Risk moves into much different territory. Though God is the main focus as always, themes of death and romantic love wash over the listener.
The disc opens with the title track which talks about taking the "risk" of following God because we want to "to make the Maker smile." The song is up beat and a basic idea of what to expect from the rest of the disc. It's followed by "Cheer Up," another up beat song of encouragement to all those who are down and feel weak. "This Story" uses the metaphor of walking into a movie thirty minutes late and having no idea what's going on to illustrate the need to get away from the hectic world and "find the exit sign," or rather, run into the arms of the Savior. "Beauty" is, ironically, probably the most beautiful song on the disc (An orchestral accompaniment makes an appearance on the chorus). The song discusses with the beauty of a special girl while "February" deals with the loss of a loved one. Hiebert's vocals on "February," which is incidentally probably the best song on Risk, are deep and foreboding, perfect for the theme of the song. The song is truly brilliant.
Starting the second half of the disc is "Always Known You," which explores the possibility of always have known God even while lost in sin, due to experiencing things that "can't be explained away." "The Poorest King" calls Jesus just that because of his sufferings on this earth and is one of the mellower songs on Risk. However, it kicks into a higher gear about two and a half minutes into the song for the perfect finish. The disc winds down with "Over the Room," "Safest Place," and comes to a close with "Today." All three are more of what you've come to expect from the rest of the CD with "Today" being a great way to end the sophomore effort from Ten Shekel Shirt.
Ten Shekel Shirt is by no means for everybody. Those who liked their worship sound will probably be disappointed with Risk, as will those who prefer any type of harder edge. This is simply emo/pop/rock music with a great message. Though I can't say I am much of a fan of this mix of genres, I have to admit I really enjoyed this album. Risk is a very peaceful, beautiful look at life when walking with the Savior. Though nothing really stands out as much as "Ocean" and "Meet with Me" did on their debut, Risk as a whole, is very much worth a purchase. Thumbs up to Ten Shekel Shirt for another superb effort.- Review date: 8/14/03, written by Josh Taylor
Record Label: INO Records
Album length: 10 tracks, 37 minutes and 30 seconds
Street Date: August 26, 2003
Buy It: Amazon.com
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