Fishers of Men 
Artist: Fishers of Men  
Label: Independent 
Time: 11 tracks/40:38 

If you hunger for another Hootie or Third Day-type band, here it is.  The intro of  "Who to Believe" is almost identical to one of Hootie's radio hits. Otherwise, the music is solid, well-played, southern-tinged rock/alternative with deep-throated, happy-grunge vocals.  A few songs get more aggressive and funky than the others.  Completely unoriginal, but the youth group kids at Fishers of Men shows apparently love it.  The lyrical focus is of course unabashedly evangelistic and full of phrases you can complete before the vocalist does. The song "Matthew 23:28" uses both the term "24-7" and the phrases "it's not religion, it's relationship" and "God's team," which will either cause you to sing along while nodding or visibly wince in pain, depending on your personal experience with Christian subculture.  "If Jesus were a Backpack" tries to put a creative spin on the WWJD fad.  If you want to book a rock band for your church or youth group, these guys will no doubt put on a dynamic show while being the "safest" band you could ask for.  To be sure, the music here is completely competent and enjoyable rock (better than some major label releases), and these guys long to embody their name, but the lack of originality limits the size and strength of their net. 

Contact information: 
Fishers of Men Music Ministry 
11300 Sonja Dr. 
Knoxville, TN  37922 
e-mail: fishersmm@aol.com 
  
By Josh Spencer 

 

Moderate to high distortion levels and fast guitar licks are the key to many of the tracks on this CD.   "Turn Right," by far the fastest track of the disc, features a lot of fuzz added to a rapid guitar and a nicely punchy bass lick. Most of the remainder have an upbeat tempo and have a more mainstream rock sound.  With some leanings to a harsher rock sound, the four member group executes a surprisingly good balance of vocals and instrumentation.  A couple of tunes also included pick up a distinctively folk to southern-rock leaning. 
 
Many of the cuts feature a strong dose of observational satire without being cynical.  "It Doesn't Matter" is reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers's sound, while "If Jesus were a Backpack" is a humorous track which features a garage band sound--taking advantage of a harsh, shallow echo. "Slow Me Down" shows Allman Brothers's influences in the careful guitar work. This track, along with "Let Go," are my personal favorite tracks. 
 
The lyrics in "Matthew 23:28" look at the superficiality of many teenagers's attachments to the church and Christianity--the line "I go to church therefore I am" along with "my girlfriend goes to church - that's why I go" is the best reference to a teen's emotional attachment I've heard in years.  I know I felt that way during those years. Overall, this group shows a lot of promise and deserves a listen. 
   
By Chris Ott 

 

 

Certainly energetic and inspirational, this album appears to have a lot in common with the South Carolina music scene, a la Hootie and the Blowfish or Big Head Todd.  With the predominantly acoustic and clean-electric sound often associated with the rock coming from today's southeastern regions quite prevalent on this album, one might at first assume that Fishers of Men is trying to compete in an already-saturated market.  However, the Fishers of Men certainly put up a good contest, and a closer listen divulges the fallacies in such an assumption; the band certainly appears to have a particular audience in mind, that being the Christian listener who wants to hear more than just your typical songs about booze and troubles.  Instead, this album is very upbeat and particularly "pastoral" at the same time.  As an added treat, the band turns up the tempo on "Think About It" and "Turn Right", showing they're capable of more than just slow and steady rock. 

While I wasn't too excited to see them take up the controversial topic of evolution in the song "Who to Believe," the album is otherwise a solid effort. Check it out, you might be surprised. 

By Corey Welton