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Remain
Artist: Constant Recourse
Independent Release (02.27.2009)
12 tracks / 46:06 minutes
 
Thirty years ago, it was almost unthinkable for the average member of the church choir to pick up and join their local rock and roll band. This was probably due to the fact that the de rigueur congregational hymns that mom and dad sang in the choir had very little in common with music their kids listened to on their trusty transistor radios. Here in the post-modern-worship era where the line between the sanctuary and the Top 40 has become increasingly blurred, such church-to-recording-studio transitions happen almost daily. It was this very route that vocalist/guitarist Ben Mell took in March of 2006 when he, three other members of the church praise squad, and an old high school friend, joined forces to craft their debut project, Something Brighter, under the Constant Recourse moniker.
 
Taking over where Brighter left off, second album cuts like "Still I Need," "God Save Us All" and "Make Me Strong" highlight the quintet's skill at crafting lively, slightly ethereal, melodic pop/rock. "Where are You" and "Nightly Amnesia," on the other hand, show that the group isn't afraid to take on the big, piano-based ballad. Soaring harmonies, an occasional smattering of progressive and indie rock and the energy with which Mell and his cohorts deliver their songs certainly add to the release's overall appeal. Even so, it is the band's lyrics –unmistakably spiritual and often tending toward the poetic – which ultimately end up being their strongest suit.
 
Objectively speaking, the intermittent missed note and ever so slight demo-like quality do render Remain marginally less appealing than it would otherwise be. Taken as a whole, though, its plusses far outweigh its shortcomings, and whatever vocal faltering is present does tend to fade into the background the more one listens. For music fans who like their pop and rock delivered in roughly equal quantities and their lyrics a bit on the ethereal side – or, alternately, those who lamented the fact that the trio Chasing Furies called it quits after only one record -- the sophomore outing from Mell & Co. may just serve as a welcome introduction to one of their new favorite bands.
 

Bert Gangl, The Phantom Tollbooth (06.25.2009)


 

 
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