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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
In mid-2008, I reviewed my first Abandon EP. At the time, I felt they were one of the more interesting new Christian bands in awhile. Their sound encompassed both modern rock (The Killers, Coldplay) and more classic rock (think U2 anthem-rock). Yet EPs are only a small taste of a band. What makes a great band is not only being able to keep a listener's attention for 3 or 4 songs, but to create an entire album that can speak as a cohesive unit.
Then in early 2009, we finally heard from Abandon again, but not in the form of a full album. They instead released another EP, this time as a digital only download. Now this might be a good technique for an established band to keep fans attention between releases, but it still left us without an unmistakable statement from the band.
Enter Searchlights, the new full-length album from Abandon. The bad news: 9 of the 12 tracks are recycled from the Eps. The good news: Abandon has finally given us a great album and announced themselves fully as a band who can keep your attention through every song and make you want to listen to it again and again.
While their early releases were mostly faster, driving numbers, the three new tracks ("Confession," "Here We Are Now," and "Safe In Your Arms") find the band exploring slower grooves and achieving great success. Singer Josh Engler's performance is particularly notable. He shows that he can cut through the frenetic rock and the moderate pop-rock ballad.
Overall, Abandon has proven why Forefront jumped at these guys. Their songs are multi-layered, catchy creations that have all the vital elements of a successful group. Abandon's music is as good as any other band receiving airplay right now on VH1. Fans of U2, The Killers, and Kevin Max will find Abandon as a welcome addition to their musical collections.