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Sounds like … Snow Patrol, Travis, Starsailor, The Fray, and other bands with straightforward Brit-pop influencesAt a glance … the atmosphere isn't as grand as the message, but Jubilee is still a welcome return from the long-absent justice leaguers of Ten Shekel ShirtTrack Listing Jubilee Surprised Fragile Spark Higher Ground En Garde Wartime Lullaby Love from a Lesser God You Rescue Daylight
You could say Lamont Hiebert chose to quit music in order to go change the world. It's been five years since his band Ten Shekel Shirt released an album, but staying productive in music wasn't as great a calling for them as reaching out to the least of these.
Don't think for a moment Hiebert was quietly working in ministry. Upon co-founding Love146, a nonprofit committed to rescuing children from prostitution and exploitation, he became something of a social-justice superstar, garnering a MySpace Impact Award and a mention in GQ magazine as an "Agent of Change."
But in time, the self-proclaimed abolitionist couldn't keep all his humanitarian victories to himself. The stories and lessons he learned were eventually distilled into Jubilee, Hiebert's third artistic chapter with his band. This new page doesn't represent a huge plot twist, since Jubilee works almost as a companion to Risk, the Shirts' second album.
In the spirit of Snow Patrol and The Fray, Hiebert shows a predilection for Brit-pop, but Jubilee's true north is human justice. Since the latter is closer to the artist's heart, it's no wonder that the atmosphere doesn't quite match the urgency of Hiebert's discourse. The closest a track comes to exploding is the sobering closer, "It's Slavery," but elsewhere things are as proper as Brit-pop gets without resorting to predictable Coldplay-isms.
Since Hiebert is now a one-man band—he has opted to continue with the Ten Shekel Shirt moniker just to keep things consistent—that explains why Jubilee feels more like a singer/songwriter disc than a band project. The byproduct of that is stronger lyricism: unlike Hiebert's previous worship-centric work, Jubilee isn't just context-less praise thoughts, but a strong case for faith in action, beautifully summarized in this lyric from "Higher Ground": "Plant my feet in Your world so I can live unselfishly/Where possessions are not loved but rather used to love the least, please."
It all makes Jubilee a welcome return for Ten Shekel Shirt. More importantly, it serves as an apropos digest of where Hiebert has been in the last half decade—a sacred ground where more worshippers ought to dare to tread.