Delicate Fade 
Artist: Common Children 
Label:Tattoo 
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 

Maybe more. 

 

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: 

    Slither into your room 
    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 
    The sound of our lives crashing down 
    We fade away (I bled for you to stay) 
    We crawl away (Creatures dressed in grace) 
    We hide away (Freeze ourselves in place) 
    (from "Indiscreet")

This album shows a band who is definitely striving to create good art. One comment I heard on the album linked it with Radiohead, but it isn't that progressive or dark.  It is a strong effort, though, causing me to forget that Tattoo is a 'CCM' label. 

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. 
  
A lot of expert help went into this production.  Steve Hindalong helps out on percussion, tremelo, and even writing the lyrics.  Christine Glass helps out with background vocals and more lyrics.  Tommy Greer adds some piano and organ.  Even Derri Daugherty makes an appearance to add background vocals. 
  
For a three-piece band, Common Children really put out a solid sound.  I'd like to see them live and hear how they sound without the multiple tracks and all the other musicians they use in their studio efforts.  Until then, I will enjoy what they record because it is excellent. 

By Mark Aylor