- reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2003 1 May
Imagine you're in a band that has just hit it big. You've signed to a major label—one of the biggest in the world—and you decide to head back to your home state to the scene that saw you grow artistically. This is your first homecoming show in a long time, and naturally the anticipation of the local circuit is without precedent. Everybody in the area has heard the news already, and they can't wait to wrap their collective arms around you and join you in the celebration of your newfound would-be superstar status.
In customary fashion, this set opens with
"P.S. We'll Call You When We Get There" is up next, and this tune finds Detar, in an almost autobiographical form, intoning the line, "We'll come back home/when we hit the big time." It's interesting to note that this track has lost the whiny emo edge
The ode to grace "Into the Dark" makes a refreshing appearance in the second half of the disc, and all the elements of the original remain, including the vocal harmonies and chopped-up keyboard
touches. This more interesting second half is also rounded out by
the mid-tempo "August in Bethany" and the one-two punch of the
instrumental "Emotion Is Dead, Pt. 1" (complete with drum loops
and haunting piano part) and their second critic-unfriendly
composition "If I Told You This Was Killing Me Would You Stop?"
"Emotion," in particular, sounds like it's a pre-recorded track,
since all of its components, including the sonic explosions in
the second half, sound like an exact replica of what's found on
One particularly amusing detail about this album is its awkward ending. After the closing "If I Told You …" is finished and the curtain is about to fall, you can hear fans clamoring for an encore for almost a minute, but their pleas for an extra dose of TJT goodness are never fulfilled, bringing the gig—at least the recorded part of it—to an abrupt, faded-out end.
And that's the album. At only 10 tracks and a little over 37 minutes of music, we do get a glimpse of The Juliana Theory's gigging capabilities, even though the album itself leaves you wanting more, and its brevity makes you wonder if Tooth & Nail truly wants to pay homage to their former signees or simply recoup some of the expenses incurred while they had them in tow for the span of two full-lengths and one EP. The truth is, most fans won't care, and they'll find it's a necessary addition to their TJT collection.