Artist: Common Children
Time: 15 tracks/58:12
The contrast here between the melodic, catchy neo-ballads and the abrasive, loud, post-grunge rockers is so vast that this album can seem schizophrenic. It's as if the chummy cello-playing Dr. Children at times grabs a mean guitar and becomes the darker alter-ego, Mr. Common. Variety is good, but most folks aren't in the mood for mixing mellow and mosh at the same time. And yet, repeated listens to Delicate Fade show that it can be done quite successfully.
Common Children writes fine songs of hope and healing in the midst of anguish. "Eyes of God" and "Strange Rain" are excellent examples. The band clearly looks to God as their source of strength and inspiration despite the darkness and despair of modern day life. The end result blends cellos and violins with loud, throbbing post-grunge guitars, bass, and drums, to make for a surprisingly good collection of inspirational bits for the soul in need of solace. Plus some wonderful encouragements, such as these excerpted lyrics:
from "Eyes of God:"
Do you wake up without speaking
Outside in a shallow state of mind
You come down
You're slipping on your feelings
This breakdown may one day lead to healing...
Do you wake without breathing
Rub on your faded smile
You wanted to be perfect
You'll have to wait a while
Dress yourself all up in heaven
Let the angels dance inside these feelings
All the while the eyes of God shine on us
Take the time, let it go
Embrace this day of healing
His tears of love redeem us
The eyes of mercy shine on us.
By Steven Stuart Baldwin
Common Children's debut won them a fair bit of acclaim, but this sophomore album looks set to surpass that. Steve Hindalong has been quoted saying this is the best album he's produced, and there seems to be a fair bit of excitement around concerning Common Children.
The album begins with a laidback track, bringing in cellos and violins to open affairs and then basing things around a passionate, husky vocal and arpeggioed guitar. An unusual opening for an album that becomes so aggressive further in. The second track brings in distortion (albeit light distortion), and by the third track we are entering post-grunge territory.
The instrumentalists are impressive - moving from relaxed to fairly heavy without losing the melody, with some particularly nice bass work underpinning the guitar. The vocalist is also versatile; sometimes I hear some tones which remind me of Kurt Cobain, but then he moves on and the similarities end. The sound obviously owes a lot to the grunge scene but has not become stuck there, developing with more complicated and progressive arrangements and ideas.
The lyrics are well-written, showing the band's connections with The Choir in places. They are mostly concerned with struggle:
Stained with weak perfume
A silhouette of smiles
Your criminal profile
I'm placing you under Missing
and lost but nearly found
An elegant thunder
By James Stewart
Common Children return with their second release Delicate Fade
and it really is an excellent effort. While this doesn't have the
intensity of their first album, it is still a powerful performance.
The grungier sound from their first album has been toned down and now they
have a more mature Choir-like (Free Flying Soul) sound. They
can still crank it out as shown on the songs "Burn" and "Pulse" but these
seem to be the exceptions rather than the rule. The new sound is
more thoughtful, even contemplative at times--it owes a lot to the way
the rest of the grunge sound has evolved, shades of this can be heard on
their first album on songs like "Broken Mind." Marc Byrd's vocals
fit in very well with this sound and really breathe life into it.
He also does a great job on the lyrics (he wrote most of them) -- the plea
for help and faith, the longing to see God's face.
By Mark Aylor