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December 2002 Pick of the Month 

The Waiting Room
Artist: Poor Old Lu 
Label: Tooth and Nail Records

Six years have passed since Poor Old Lu retired after Picture of the Eighth Wonder. Still, The Waiting Room seems like the band has only been in Narnia while no time has passed in the real world.

The Waiting Room picks up where the last record left off. Tracks like “Now,” “Crushed,” “Crowded,” and “The Waiting Room” are the hits, but the others aren’t too shabby. Some of the songs just take a little longer to develop, but overall the musicianship hasn’t changed and the production is even better. 

Interestingly enough, the theme to The Waiting Room is the return of Christ. The element of time till Christ’s return is present in many of the song titles such as “Now,” “Today,” “Month of Moments,” “Friday to Sunday” and “The Waiting Room.” In “Now,” listeners are warned to be aware of the present time. “Don’t dream of hours gone by, of seconds came and spent. Don’t wish on distant stars, of worlds come and went.” At the end of the album the title track makes it clear that earth is “the waiting room.” “The world it can’t be moving. It’s been two thousand years or have I stopped breathing? Have I stopped believing? Believe me, I… Just want to have the patience of a saint to wait at the gate. Please don’t be late.”

An older and wiser Poor Old Lu is heard on The Waiting Room. Although, it’s not quite as good as Picture of the Eighth Wonder, it’s close. The recording was clearly a long drawn-out process, but listeners will find it was worth the wait. 

Matt Modrich 11/7/2002

The wait is over.

Fans of Poor Old Lu will be thrilled to know that, not only has this talented band re-formed, they’ve also just released the most cohesive, evocative and passionate new recording in their “off-again, on-again” history.

After nearly five years, hearing the opening strains of the albums first cut, “Revolve” is like getting a phone call from an old friend or a letter from a lost love.

The band took ten months to write and record their best recording yet. Truly, this foursome has never sounded better, or more relevant. These years off have allowed guitarist Aaron Sprinkle to further perfect his guitar prowess and sharpen his song-crafting skills. Jesse Sprinkle has also taken the time off to transform himself into a fantastically skilled percussionist, as vocalist Scott Hunter proves his unique voice hasn’t suffered one tiny iota in the interim. Of course, Nick Barber is no slouch either, and his bass lines here are as solid as ever before.

This latest effort from Poor Old Lu has a more poetic charm and an effortless lyrical quality than past releases. It’s still unmistakably Poor Old Lu, but their maturity is showing now and they often display restraint in favor of sound and fury, with stellar results.

Poor Old Lu has always worn its faith on its sleeve. Something that their fans appreciate and expect. The Waiting Room is no different than past efforts, as the band delivers brilliant modern rock songs that deal squarely with spiritual doubts, fears, and failings while offering more hope than despair, more light than heat.

The title, Waiting Room suggests the heart of a believer who is waiting, but sometimes for the wrong things. While we look to His glorious appearing, are we just twiddling our thumbs or are we active and obedient to His word in the interim? The band explores these questions, divulges their own weakness and encourages us all to make good use of this time of waiting.

Thankfully, the members of Poor Old Lu have taken the time to call our attention to the importance of waiting with a purpose.

There is a feeling of sweet release when any long wait is finally over and this is something that Poor Old Lu manages to convey with honest exuberance and verve.

The wait is over.

Keith Giles 11/7/2002

Once upon a time many, many years ago, in a land lost in legend, oh all right it was in Seattle and it was only ten years ago, a band was born. Taking their name from a line in The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Poor Old Lu was born. After releasing a number of well received albums, the members of the group disbanded to pursue the greener pastures of solo careers. Bassist, Nick Barber and guitarist Aaron Sprinkle started Rose Blossom Punch and drummer Jesse Sprinkle moved to New York to explore the World Inside, vocalist, Scott Hunter kept a low profile. Flash forward to 2001 and the rumors of a reunion and a new album are flying far and wide. I got a chance to see the band perform at Purple Door 2001 and to say that they had not lost any of their fire is a complete under statement. It would be awhile before the new album called appropriately, The Waiting Room would see the light of day from that summer 2001 performance but the wait was well worth it.

This, the newest addition to the Poor Old Lu collection is very possibly their best effort yet. All of the songwriting credits go to the band collectively. and if this is so then the years apart have not hurt these guys at all it has only made them stronger. When these guys first appeared on the scene a decade ago, they were one of the best and most adventurous bands around, time has not diminished that fire at all. It is as if they had never stopped playing together at all.

Scott Hunter's voice is in fine form here and the rest of the band Jesse, Aaron and Nick play together like a well oiled machine. The main production credits go to Aaron Sprinkle and Poor Old Lu, the recording was done at Compound Recording in Seattle. It is this feeling of being comfortably back home that is one of the reasons that make this a great album. The writing and playing is top notch as well. Welcome home guys, we missed you.

Chris MacIntosh aka Grandfather Rock  1/11/2003


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