faith hope love by king's x
The first thing you notice on We Are Finding Who We Are is how much Doug's bass rattles. The vocals on this are very gospel-like. I initially said they reminded me of Prince, but that's because of his gospel influences. This album really has some interesting details in the writing, the example here being the back-up vocals on the last chorus. Each time they repeat, they remove a little more of the lyric, as the lead ad-libs over it. Nice idea, cool result.
It's Love lets Ty shine on vocals, and really shine on the solo! And check out the big tom fills. The length here starts to warm you up to how long they're gonna let the songs get this time around.
I read somewhere that Six Broken Soldiers is Jerry's first lead vocal, but I'd swear this is him on I'll Never Get Tired Of You. The chorus gets redundant, but I still like it.
On the last album they started using the now trademark idea of a repetitive riff that they slowly build and jam on. The Fine Art Of Friendship is the first example of how far they'll take that on faith hope love. The guitar sound on this is interesting, too. I wish the "children's" voices in the background of Mr. Wilson were in the lyric sheet, because I still can't understand all of them. But, boy, are they ticked at this guy, and does he sound like a psychotic Scrooge or what. The dual guitar solos is a very interesting idea that I just love. I wonder if this was planned, or if he couldn't decide between the two in the studio, so they kept both.
Moanjam sums itself up in the title. Doug belts it out, and this is one heck of a guitar solo. After this, does Ty have any tricks left? (Actually, see Not Just For The Dead's ending.) The rattling bass really sticks out at the beginning. How does Jerry play a kick pattern like that while playing so fast? Do you notice how much the kick is starting to sound like Lars' on ...And Justice For All? I've noticed this on a lot of albums in the wake of Metallica's new-found popularity. And they just don't wanna end the song, do they?
Does Six Broken Soldiers start with a backwards piano or something? Strange but cool sounding song with symbolic lyrics I can't completely sort out. Jerry does great lead vocals, and now you know which one has always done the high harmonies.
The rhythm patterns in I Just Can't Help It show how well these guys compete with the best of the "progressive-rock" types. We even get a brief drum solo before the last verse. Redundant chorus again, but the start/stop bass-line actually makes it work.
The slow, blues-metal groove contrasting with the fast, Iron Maidenish riff, makes Talk To You the first interesting arrangement so far on the album (though not the last). The verses again give us some great drumming. Heavy! Thoughtful lyrics, too, about day-to-day depression.
The first note of the solo on Everywhere I Go almost moves me to tears with the tension it builds! The breakdown is beautiful. The bass rattles, the kick drum punches. A lot of albums put the best songs early, or spread them out among mediocre or bad (filler) songs. This album is like good sex (if you'll pardon the analogy). It starts great, moves along well, then slowly builds to an incredible climax, with just enough follow-through to let you rest easy. I've always liked the album up to here, but this track really starts the build to a great climax.
And where does it build to next? We Are Born To Be Loved is progressive-rock, riff-meister mania! Great vocals, great effect on the bridge, great rhythm, and the ending jam on this one makes you jerk your head in some interesting directions. Wow, theses boys are gonna need to work hard to top this song...!
And top it they do!! The title track is some ten-minutes of the most interesting noise I have ever had the pleasure to be exposed to. These lyrics are great, and it wasn't until I was reading along with the lyric sheet that I noticed the line "Listen to me very closely: there is more Heaven than Hell...." Right when you think this song has gone long enough, with extended jam on a simple riff and all, they come back with another chorus and bridge, then jam again for twice as long!! By the end, Ty's guitar and Doug's vocals are on opposite sides of the stereo going completely off, and all kinds of sounds and stuff are everywhere! To an uninitiated fan, this may be way too overdone, but to me, this song is incredible!
After all that, we need a rest, and are provided one with Legal Kill. At least musically. The acoustic 12-string and flute are gorgeous here. But the lyrics are possibly the heaviest the band has ever offered! Sure, they take the proper stand you expect a Christian to take on abortion, but they aren't so blind they can't see both sides. And do they claim that right and wrong is easy? This one really makes me think. Those interesting writing ideas I've mentioned are abound here. First, the back-up vocals on the two choruses are switched in relation to the lead. Second, the ending gives us the flute doing a familiar Christmas carol, but the vocals only come in on "Glory to the new-born..." Very clever.
In conclusion: did I like this album? You bet! I still, on an overall basis, consider Gretchen Goes To Nebraska the groups best work, but the challenge to make a follow-up was easily met with this. The organization of the songs and some of the experiments in arrangement are at their best on this one. On some days, this one wrestles it's way to the top of my list.
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