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Chris and Contad
Artist: Chris And Conrad
Label: VSR

If most CCM radio around you is anything like it is around me at the time I'm writing this, you can't avoid the humongously anthemic strains of Chris (Kuti) And Conrad (Johnson)'s "Lead Me To The Cross."

For all the talk among themselves and others C And C do on the half-hour DVD documentary-lite accompanying their debut long-player of songwriting collaborating, it's funny-both ha ha and peculiar-that their debut hit isn't from their own pens and keyboards. No, it's a Brooke Fraser writing credit. In fact, it's the only song here not at co-authored by at least one of the act's eponymous C's. A bit of bait & switch on their label's part, hmmm...?

Not really, as their first radio hit fits into the grander scheme of the album. It is lite rock, ready for most any Christian radio format from adult contemporary to inspirational and back to contemporary hit. This not particularly broad range is especially apt in the U.S. where a song that isn't particularly apt to add much to a format of harder rock, hip-hop, R & B, reggae, country etc., won't miss much of Christian radio. It's pleasant enough in the way it fits into its intended formats without drawing too much attention to itself with lyrics ranging from "Jesus is my girlfriend" verical adulation to more affectingly somber use of metaphor ("Buried Alive") to that enormous-sounding, doctrinally pretty OK hit. Were Jeremy Camp to sing a touch higher than his current range, clone himself and let the loud/soft dynamics of grunge seep into more grown-up soft rock rife wth strings & slickness, CAC might be the result.

If the above sounds competent and intermittently reflective, the aforementioned video goes a far way in bolstering that impression. Neither C is very inclined to speak of the inspiration, much less the Inspiration, of their songs as much as they speak of becoming friends after initially hooking up as songwriters, their pre-Super Bowl concert, the studios where they recorded and other songwriters with whom they have worked. All fine and well, but the members of a general market, non-Christian act could have given roughly the same spiel. And visually, they remain intriguing insofar as the guys are visually compelling (Chris looking like a fresher-faced, shock-haired Clay Aiken, Conrad like a slightly lumpen and stern Christian Bale).

Their first album is likely chocked full of further singles that will meet K-Love's and Way-FM's approval. It may even get them some  MercyMe-esque crossover. But it's generally a genially generic work that points to either a continuation of the same or leaps of great growth on their sophomore project.

-Jamie Lee Rake

 
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