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Intersection of Life and Faith

Perceptions

  • reviewed by Andrea Dawn Goforth Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2008 8 Aug
  • COMMENTS
Perceptions
Sounds like … hard alternative/rock with some power pop, in the same vein as Finch, Mae, Jimmy Eat World, Story of the Year, Skillet, and Dead PoeticAt a glance … the follow-up for This Beautiful Republic's well received debut has an interesting concept, but musically it wades in a pool of inconsistency and mediocrityTrack Listing Pain Surrender Saved My Life Learning To Fall Beautifully Broken No Turning Back My God For The Life Of Me Last Second Chance Stay With You Tonight Change The World A Point Between Extremes The Ones Say Goodnight

When This Beautiful Republic debuted in 2007 with Even Heroes Need a Parachute, they were warmly welcomed as the first new band to sign with ForeFront Records in 5 years. But there are two sides to every story, as demonstrated by the band's sophomore effort Perceptions, in both theme and artistry.

The album's message is at least noble and relevant. Lead vocalist Ben Olin explains that This Beautiful Republic wanted to make songs that put you in another's shoes to foster better understanding among us. In the song "Change the World," he sings, "Why do we keep fighting? … We all see the same things … If we love each other we can change the world."

But musically, This Beautiful Republic treads a fine line between variety and inconsistency. The pop/rock anthem "Beautifully Broken" is abruptly followed by the in-your-face screams of "No Turning Back," complete with the chunky guitar found on your average metal album.

Eclecticism is often a good thing, but on Perceptions the band never seems to find their footing with each sub-genre. It's a far cry from the band's debut, where they were able to lock in on their alternative/emo pop/rock style and deliver it loud and pretty.

Olin's voice doesn't quite hold up to the musical range either. Though he does well with the more pop/rock oriented tunes—those most similar to the emo flavor of the debut album—his singing seems more stretched and thin on the heavier tracks, lacking the depth and character needed to sustain them.

As such, most of the songs simply aren't that memorable, but at least Perceptions makes an impression with the beefy, hardcore of "My God." It's definitely catchy, especially with the key lyric, "My God oh my God, when did I become the self addicted one?"—the type of song you might expect to hear in an action movie when the hero is in trouble. Still, as the strongest track on the album, the style has been done more intently by bands like Finch and Story of the Year.

There are indeed two sides to this album. On one side, This Beautiful Republic has put out an album with some worthy messages while showing a willingness to evolve their sound. On the other side, it is an album weighed down by an inconsistent sound and forgettable songs. You could say this album has the perfect title for it.


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