Since their debut, Shine Through The Stars, the band named after lead singer Chasen Callahan, Chasen, has signed with INO records, and is now ready to offer their sophomore project That Was Then, This Is Now. While the quartet released a few popular songs from their first album, the remainder of the band's first album was very forgettable. However, two years later, Chasen is ready to return, and, judging by success of their first single, "On And On," we are ready for them.
With generic praise and worship making up the bulk of Shine Through The Stars, it wasn't surprising to see that one of the up-tempo songs ("Crazy Beautiful") on the album was a hit single. It's similarly not surprising that That Was Then, This Is Now features more pop rock while the praise and worship takes a more influential role. Both soft pop songs "On And On" and "Leave You Alone" are reminiscent of a Tenth Avenue North sound. The singer/songwriter element which played a role in Shine Through The Stars isn't as prominent this time around, but well-placed piano pieces help this release feel a little more organic. The album also is stacked with radio potential with a strong line up where "Castaway" and "Eyes Of a Rescue" lead the way. However, there are several upbeat songs that display sounds which have been covered well over the years. Comparisons to Run Kid Run and Steven Curtis Chapman could be made positively. However, "Love In Your Name" and "Bullet" have a rock/worship style which fans will find too overused and too similar to more generic artists like Lincoln Brewster and Starfield.
Lyrically, Chasen doesn't experiment with novel concepts, but rather tries to spin messages in a different light. Chasen tries to make comparisons of God's love and redemption to airplanes and castaways with marginal success. Although the band doesn't go into a great amount of detail describing our fallen nature, Chasen does take a good introspective look at it in "Slow Down" and "Eyes Of A Rescue" to showcase both salvation and the group's songwriting abilities.
At best, Shine Through The Stars was a decent pop/worship album which highlighted Chasen's unimaginative, pop/worship sound and fragile lyrics. However, That Was Then, This Is Now. Although Chasen's sophomore album might not be the next Newsboys' Go or Remedy Drive's Daylight Is Coming, it's not too shabby. The band still has some areas to work on, but That Was Then, This Is Now is a strong pop album to close out the Winter.- Review date: 3/3/10, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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