Wide-Eyed and Mystified
- Monday, May 01, 2006
- The More
- A Better Way
- Dying to Know You
- I Will Follow Your Voice
- Little Is Much
- Forgive Yourself
- The Real Jesus
- Remember Me
- 1,000 Miles Apart
- I Miss You Here
Downhere first hit the scene in 2001 with one of the strongest debuts in recent memory, a rich blend of smartly crafted adult contemporary that straddled comfortably between pop and rock. Just two years later, the Canadian band scaled back their production in favor of a more aggressive rock sound on their equally impressive
The odd part is, Downhere earned considerable industry clout and developed a very passionate following among fans. They just never seemed to muster enough radio support and album sales to make them the success many expected them to be. And considering the popularity of MercyMe, The Afters, Casting Crowns, and Sanctus Real in recent years, you'd think the similar but even better sounding band would prevail.
Thankfully, Downhere persevered since 2003 and has been granted a second chance with the newly formed Centricity label, thus providing a third chance for others to discover what they've been missing these last five years.
Ah yes, those vocalists. Guitarist Marc Martel is clearly the primary singer with an ultra-tenor that has often been compared to Kevin Max, though now I'm beginning to think it's up there with Freddie Mercury. If you have doubts about that, listen to the brief hidden track at album's end. The guy actually seems to have improved with time, showing more range and nuance while singing lead or harmony—his head voice on the Coldplay-styled communion anthem "Remember Me" makes Chris Martin's sound relatively thin. But there are also some songs (usually ballads) for which a warmer and more soft-spoken tone is better suited. That's where Jason Germain (guitar, keyboards) shines, and it's amazing that two voices that sound so different can compliment each other so well.
Despite the stronger rock feel of
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