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September 2002 Pick of the Month

Again, for the First Time
Artist: Bleach
Label: Tooth & Nail
Length: 13 tracks/ 34:44

Long-time ForeFront records rock band Bleach finally decided to go with a new label for their latest CD. A lot of people were surprised that Bleach signed with Tooth & Nail, but after a listen to their new CD it may not be quite so surprising. Again, for the First Time finds Bleach with more of a raw sound than previous outings and lyrics that don't attempt to capitalize on JPMs (Jesus Per Minutes). The result is the best CD that Bleach has in their catalog.

Musically, Bleach's new album seems to be heavily influenced by Weezer. The interesting difference is that Again, for the First Time actually seems like a better CD than Weezer's Maladroit. The music rarely provides a dull moment. The whole CD is chock full of catchy modern rock tunes. The only time the music slows down is on the closing acoustic tune "Jen's Song," a nice way to end the album.

The lyrics are where Bleach has Weezer beat. Here we find a level of honesty that is instantly appealing. In weak at the knees, vocalist Dave Baysinger sings "You found me broke last week. Weak at the knees. Collectors been callin' me. Say you better pay up what you owe. And I don't know how, I don't know how I'll make it out. This hole is big, and my light is starting to burn out." These are not the kind of songs found on the band's previous CDs churned out of the Nashville machine. The songs feel like they were written by real people and have words mean what they say. It's hard to not relate to a song like "Andy's Doin' Time" that talks about life back home and all the things that the band misses while they're on the road. Even though not all of us are in bands, we know what it's like to be away. Baysinger provides consolation to both himself and the audience with the words, "We're moving on and on and on. We'll head out towards the sun. 'Cause we're the lucky ones."

Again, for the First Time may not necessarily be anything new, but it's a well-made CD that deserves a few spins. Some fun, heartfelt rock n' roll never hurt anyone.

Trae Cadenhead 8/11/2002

It’s been three years since Bleach’s last album came out on Forefront, but now they’re back better than ever with a new label and a new sound. Coming to Tooth and Nail with Again, for the First Time, Bleach has shed their Smashing Pumpkins influences from their early albums. 

Yes, Bleach is now officially a “power-pop” band ala Weezer’s green album. Nevertheless, Bleach keeps the songs fresh and fairly original, despite the many “Weezer” moments.

Again, for the First Time starts out with a short gentle acoustic intro, but then “Baseline,” which is the first of many anthemic songs, reminds the listener that they are listening to Bleach and not Phil Keaggy. Next is “Celebrate,” which is one of the singles on the album that is really mediocre when compared to some of the better songs on the album. Track four “Broke in the Head” has its catchier moments, but it also ultimately remains just an average track.

The album starts to turn a corner with “We Are Tomorrow,” which is featured in Bleach’s new music video. The song’s anthemic chorus and the energetic bridge coupled with the building verse made a formula for a hit radio single. Track six “Fell Out” is even better than the song before it, because of its constant hooks throughout the verse, chorus and bridge. The two songs that follow it are both fairly enjoyable upbeat pop songs.

Tracks 9 and 10 fill space before “Andy’s Doin’ Time,” which has the best verse on the whole album, but its chorus could use some tweaking. Next is “Knocked Out,” which seems to seriously address the issue of spiritual complacency and Bleach does so with another solid song. Finally, “Jen’s Song” brings the album full-circle with an acoustic track that ends with the same riff that started the album.

The best thing about this album is that it flows very well from song to song and it showcases Bleach’s new sound. Although there are some weaker moments and filler tracks, “Again, for the First Time” is the poppiest album to come out in some time and Bleach is bound to gain a lot of listeners outside of their previous CCM fan base. 

Matt Modrich 8/18/2002

With Again, For the First Time you will notice Bleach seems to have changed their sound. People now claim they sound very much like the mainstream act Weezer. While I can’t back that up personally, as I have not heard any of Weezer’s music, I can definitely say Bleach’s sound is different. Is it for the better? That is a hard call... I would have to say not quite, but it is almost there.

Because of the almost punk-like sound, people could say songs get repetitive throughout the album. While the tracks do have their similarities, it is safe to say there are enough differences that you can recognize a song by its tune. 

From tracks like the beginning intro, "Baseline," and "We Are Tomorrow" to the closing ballads "Knocked Out" and "Jen’s Song," Again, For the First Time is quite an enjoyable ride. It may not be Static, but this diversion is definitely worth your time.

Oh, and if you haven’t already, check out Bleach’s video for "We Are Tomorrow." It is quite humorous, and one of my new favorites.

Josh McConnell  08/29/02

Summer is coming to a close, and after being bleached by the sun, the time has come for a different type of lightener. Bleach the band is back with a newer, heavier sound than that of the past 6 years. Making their debut on Tooth and Nail records. 

The title Again, For the First Time may confuse, but shouldn’t worry fans. The high energy rock 'n' roll music they love to play continues on this CD. Five talented guys just rock out in Jesus' name through each and every hit song.

The national airtime for the first radio release on this CD, "We are tomorrow!" is huge. This is a good, upbeat song with meaningful words. Too many people are trying to get yesterday back or living for today, when we really never know if tomorrow will come. 

The style portrayed on this album shows the growth of the band through such songs as, "Once Again, Here We Are," and the growth of a godly influence is a recurring theme on the album. From the upbeat guitar and drums of the opening song to the final track which returns the focus to why this CD is worth buying. There are as many hand-lifting worship songs as jump up and down ones.

The instrumental and sound values are great. There are some weird sounds here and there at the beginning of songs, but it's rather cool and goes with the album.  This album is captivating from the first listen. All the songs have catchy tunes that will last all night long. This CD is going to top all the other Bleach albums and the upcoming Are We There Yet Tour is totally going to rock. The newly designed web site deserves a look as well. In comparing this CD to other artists, it has the harmonies of Jimmy Eat World and Cadet, but where the band stands and where they want to go with their music is obvious.

ELizabeth Angell 9/21/2002

   
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