- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Mar
- Give Me Amazing Grace
- Come Undone
- Jamie's Song
- One More Day
- Send Her an Angel
- Center of Attention
- Ready to Find Love
- Give It All Away
- Let It Fly
I caught Jackson Waters at a showcase in 2006 and they truly rocked the house. But when asked to explain what they were like, I struggled to find the words: "Um … rock band … they had guitars!" Interestingly, the press materials also had trouble describing Come Undone, suggesting that it's incomparable and unclassifiable. The band itself—hailing from John Brown University in Arkansas—can't elaborate either, describing their music as "life rock," because it's "music that is there for you, no matter what you're going through."
The problem with songs that apply to "whatever you're going through" is they tend to generically borrow from stock phrases. "Come Undone" is a typical plea for redemption, "Everything" is the usual pursuit-of-God rocker, and "Give Me Amazing Grace" is about … well, you know.
This album also repeats its lyrical cliché s. Take "Jamie's Song," which blandly hopes that a friend will find her way, and add to that "One More Day," which says "we will all be okay" if we just "hold on." It might end up resembling "Send Her an Angel," offering comfort to a friend with, "The dark will give way to a brand new day/It's okay, it's okay, it's okay." Likewise, both "Give It All Away" and "Let It Fly" tell us to let go of past shame and give it up to God.
As for the sound, it's unclassifiable because it's vanilla—likeable, tasty, but indistinct. "Center of Attention" has the most going for it with some jazz-inflected chord changes and that familiar Coldplay build-up, while the powerhouse title track offers a little bit of a Maroon 5 groove. But overall, this is Southern-inspired modern rock with too many middling pop ballads, echoing Matchbox Twenty and recent offerings from NeedToBreathe and The Turning.
In fairness, Jackson Waters sounds good and doesn't need to be put in a box. But they now sound too comparable, lacking the rock verve of their concerts and the stronger musical identity of their more rootsy independent album All That I Know.