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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

A Love Hate Masquerade

  • reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Sep
A Love Hate Masquerade
Sounds like … a combination of alternative, emo, and hard rock reminiscent of Mae, Anberlin, Chevelle, and Spoken.At a glance … the songs definitely have stronger hooks this time around, but a lack of a distinguishing sound still limits Kids in the Way's long-term impact.Track Listing Your Demon
Better Times
The Innocence
Letting Go
My Little Nightmare
Far From Over
We Kill at Twilight
Winter Passing

The third time is almost the charm for Indianapolis rockers Kids in the Way. Unlike the band's 2003 debut Safe From the Losing Fight and their 2005 follow-up Apparitions of Melody, every song on A Love Hate Masquerade is catchy and accessible enough to be a rock radio single. Simply put, there's not a dud in this bunch of energetic rock anthems that powerfully reflect the ups and downs of the Christian life.

What's still lacking for the band, however, despite their significant change in style, is a truly distinguishing sonic quality. Whether the stirring portrait of a relationship gone sour ("My Little Nightmare") or the descriptive treatise on deception and betrayal ("Sugar"), these songs ultimately could've been recorded by any of Kids in the Way's peers, such as Anberlin, Chevelle, or Mae. And Dave Pelsue's vocals on this album have a generic quality that don't infuse enough character or personality into the music, even with the styles seamlessly fluctuating between emo rock and metal.

But complaints about generics aside, the songwriting has certainly improved on A Love Hate Masquerade. The band's past work often relied on the typical Christian music cliché s. Now there's a real-world weariness in potent tracks like "We Kill at Twilight" and "Winter Passing" that are sure to resonate with the struggles of the band's core audience. We can all relate to the experience of regret that's earnestly reflected in "Better Times"—"My heart is buried in the ground/My hands are tied/My feet are bound/It's the smoke that hurts my eyes as I burn you from my life/I didn't mean to mistreat you."

Such moments demonstrate the band's capability to deliver beyond what's been previously expected of them. Now if only they could do as much musically after mastering the art of a strong hook and a potent lyric, these Kids would have some serious staying power.

© Christa Banister, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.