- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Sep
- Initiation Sequence
- Love in Your Arms
- Fight to Save Your Life
- How It Feels (to Be with You)
- It's Beautiful
- Retail Value
- Feel Oh
- 12 Step Programs
- Galaxies Collide
- Program Terminated
- Starship Unicorn (hidden track)
Perhaps you've noticed how the music biz is overflowing with sound-alike punk-pop bands. As if in attempt to help distinguish themselves from the pack, eleventyseven has made dramatic tweaks to their sound, despite a fairly solid debut (And the Land of Fake Believe). But now instead of becoming potentially passé , the young trio seems to be suffering some sort of identity crisis on their sophomore effort, Galactic Conquest.
It's not the space motif, which is more a promotional gimmick than anything, though it was probably inspired by the band's addition of synth—and lots of it—to their punk-pop style. Used more sparingly, the results might have sounded like Relient K meets All Star United (naturally, since ASU frontman Ian Eskelin produced). But the combo is more clashing than that, jumping from Stellar Kart or Good Charlotte one minute to Erasure or Pet Shop Boys the next. The punk rock fans I know will struggle with an album that goes from punk ("12 Step Programs") and the obligatory acoustic ballad ("It's Beautiful") to the synth-pop flavored "How It Feels (To Be with You)," the Nintendo-ish "Galaxies Collide," and a hidden dance track about "The Starship Unicorn."
Yet as stereotypical and jarring as Galactic Conquest is—both, occasionally at the same time—it does occasionally succeed in bringing the fun; and no other word can better describe their frivolous-but-loving tribute to talk show host "Conan" O'Brien. Moreover, there's actually some protein amidst all the sugarcoated cheese. Our misguided pursuit of "Happiness" (instead of God) feels like Proverbs for the Radio Disney crowd. With bombastic punk-pop strains, "Fight to Save Your Life" confronts us to reject worldly means of determining identity and beliefs, while album highpoint "Retail Value" conversely makes a gutsy challenge concerning Christians that fail to represent their faith to the world.
It's unfair to write off eleventyseven as lightweight considering their frequent display of provocative songwriting and catchy melodies. But in an effort to characterize their sound, the witty insights on Galactic Conquest are buried by disparate musical ideas that are worlds apart.