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JFH Music Review

Tal & Acacia
Wake Me

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 11 tracks: 39 minutes, 49 seconds
Street Date: October 6 (Digital Release)

There's something about Tal & Acacia that's almost too cool for Christian music. Maybe it's the quirky melodies and lilting vocals, or maybe it's way their singable tunes linger in the mind long after they're heard, but whatever it is, it doesn't take long to fall for the infectious personality of the sister duo's Essential Records debut.

Wake Me is all about vivacious alternative pop, pure and simple. It sounds both wonderfully fresh and somehow familiar, bringing to mind inventive female artists like Feist and Regina Spektor with their unique voices. The music blends sparse acoustic arrangements with electro-pop influences. Heavy piano riffs and subtle acoustic strumming complement synthetic bass, strings, and percussion with no element overpowering the others, and the effect is a sound all their own.

The opening guitar strums and piano beat of "Top Priority" set the tone and God-centered theme for the rest of the album. Musically, the lead single "Clearview" is a highlight, with cheerful harmonies and a rich, layered sound that is fun without feeling cheesy. And though the hypnotic melody and odd vocals of "Merry Go Round" are an acquired taste, just a few listens left it stuck in my head for days. Occasionally some weak lyrics find their way into the mix ("Garbage In," for example, a good message that's lost in a cliché chorus), but even then the music is so catchy it's easy to overlook any fault.

Most of the album is buoyant pop, and I admit this style is better enjoyed in moderation. Sure, the music is cool, but after too many listens, I found myself longing for something a little more. Sometimes a little honesty and something besides "top priority... seek first the Kingdom" and "garbage in, garbage out" advice is good for the soul. Thankfully, a couple of standout tracks prove that it's not all fluff.

The title track is the most successful attempt to pair their creative sound with honest, serious lyrics. Waves of percussion and electronic strings complement a softer vocal approach and have a darker quality in contrast to the songs around it. Lyrics like "I'd be lying to dismiss / How alone I feel in this ... Will You show me what You've been doing all this time?" make this one of the album's strongest and most mature tracks. The closer, "Warrior Child," also takes the listener to a somber but hopeful place, a song from the perspective of God encouraging His children to be strong. Wrapped in acoustic guitar and strings, it finishes the album on a reflective note.

Tal & Acacia are a step above the typical Christian pop fare, youthful yet mature at the same time. They own their sound and stay true to it from start to finish. The light mood may seem like Wake Me's greatest asset and downfall after multiple listens, but it's a fun one to revisit when you need a little something to pick you up. I wish it had been available in time to be the soundtrack for summer drives, but as a fall release, it could be a dose of musical sunshine to put a smile on your face in the cooler months ahead. These talented girls have a lot of promise and a debut worth checking out any time of the year.

- Review date: 10/4/09, written by Jen Rose of

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

Tal & Acacia's debut, Wake Me, was originally slated to release in July, but was pushed back until now for a digital release. We're not quite sure why, but are very sure that it was all worth the extra wait. Tal & Acacia draw comparisons to the likes of Feist, Adele and the Bird and the Bee, with an alternative pop sound not commonly heard in this end of the music world, though it would be an insult to say it's a rip-off of anyone. The two sisters' voices work together stunningly, constructing harmonies seemingly without effort. From the upbeat "Clearview" and "Merry Go Round" to the rather solemn but lush "Yahweh" and "Warrior Child," Tal & Acacia expertly pull every track off with deftness, and for good reason; the two sisters have been collaborating together long before Wake Me, and it shows. There are at least a couple tracks that have lyrics that may be too simplistic ("Garbage In" being the most cited example), but it's always the exception and never the rule, and the quirky music behind it disguises it well to the whole album's advantage. For anyone looking for something different but full of life and fresh talent, one would make a wise choice in Wake Me. Tal & Acacia are one dynamic duo and one of the biggest treasures this year; I can only hope they don't become a "best kept secret" of the CCM world. You read it here first: Tal & Acacia is quite possibly the best new artist of 2009. - Roger Gelwicks of


. Record Label: Essential Records
. Album length: 11 tracks: 39 minutes, 49 seconds
. Street Date: October 6 (Digital Release)
. Buy It:
. Buy It: iTunes

  1. Top Priority (3:37)
  2. Garbage In (3:25)
  3. Clearview (3:40)
  4. Yahweh (4:03)
  5. Wake Me (Noah's Song) (3:07)
  6. Merry Go Round (3:31)
  7. Swing Song (3:42)
  8. Drifting Away (4:22)
  9. Walking Your Dog (2:55)
  10. Love's Gonna Getcha (3:07)
  11. Warrior Child (4:25)


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