Having weathered many record label woes, rockers Homeless J. release what should have been their first major label release, Three Seconds to Gaze, on indie label Selectric. With a sound that spans genres and likened to mainstream artist Audioslave, the band previously known as Homeless Jesus bring a fresh sound to Christian music. Having been together since the early-90's, this band is certainly primed and ready to make an impact.
The first thing that was very apparent was that this was not your typical Christian hard rock album. There's more of an "artsy" feel to just about all the songs than what you're typically going to find from other bands that share the genre. Vocalist Chad Van Meter's voice ranges from low moans to high wails in an almost unpredictable fashion. You can hear several different musical influences throughout the album, ranging from Led Zeppelin to Jane's Addiction to Audioslave with even some hints of Korn at times. However, all of that is to say that it's not entirely bad either. It's just different.
The lyrical content is very interesting. Van Meter comes up with some very thought provoking and poetic lyrics. At times, songs are very straightforward. The song "Sister" seems to deal with helping a girl cope with the guilt that comes with abortion. It's also clear on the opener "The Flash" and "Did You See It?" where the band's faith stands out through the poetic lyrics. However, there are also those songs that just leave you scratching your head after reading the lyrics. But a little bit of thinking never hurt anyone either.
Musically, many are going to be able to find something somewhere on this album that they like due to the varied styles. The musicianship is also very impressive. The simple fact that they're able to get so much style to fit and meld not only in one album, but sometimes in just one song, is an impressive feat. And again, this style and ability is probably most likened to mainstream act Audioslave. However, that's not to say that they're just another copycat band jumping on something that's working for someone else. I was pleasantly surprised by the unique and genuine nature of this album. This is a band that set out to be doing their own thing and has accomplished that.
Overall, the album is solid. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who aren't going to be into the album just due to how different it is than just about everything else. Your best bet may be to catch a listen to a few of the songs on the band's website before going out and buying it. If you're looking for something a little different than what has permeated the Christian hard rock scene thus far though, you can't really find anything much more different than Homeless J while still fitting into the genre.- Review date: 5/16/06, written by Matt Johnson
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