- reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Oct
- Kings & Queens
- I'm Alright
- On My Way
- On Your Side
- The Fool
- Big Escape
- Falling Down
- English Boys
- World on Fire
It took them long enough, but Luna Halo is finally back. Not that it's a huge event. The band hasn't released anything substantive in seven years after their debut, toiling independently for much of that time with lots of roster changes before eventually signing a record deal with Rick Rubin's American Recordings in 2005. Were it not for that label's recent distribution woes, this long awaited self-titled project would've released sooner. Alas, it fell victim to a series of delays.
The foursome was a product of Christian music's alternative rock boom at the turn of the millennium, which spawned bands like Earthsuit (Paul Meany's pre-Mute Math troupe), The Elms, and Chasing Furies. (Bonus points to those who remember frontman Nathan Barlowe as part of the dc Talk-styled band Reality Check in 1997.) Luna Halo were the fashionistas of the bunch, dressed like glam rockers but favoring a less experimental version of Radiohead by way of U2 and Delirious. 2000's Shimmer (with the minor Christian radio hit "Superman") showed potential that was never given chance to develop. Now that it's been so long, most people probably don't remember them.
That actually works in the band's favor, since the new Luna Halo sounds nothing like their first incarnation. Instead of moody, dense alternative pieces, the quartet has transitioned to catchy post-punk and revivalist new wave, not too unlike The Killers and Franz Ferdinand. Though a bit convenient and after the fact, Luna Halo pulls off this addictive sound well, avoiding the pomposity of their pop peers. The songs are fierce and brief—rarely more than three minutes—performed with admirable rock intensity and poise.
As might be expected of the genre, the hooks and overall sound take precedence over penmanship and thoughtfulness. Barlowe still writes from a faith-based perspective, though in a more vague and guarded way. "Tell me your secrets, 'cause I will believe them/For you I will lay down my will to fight/'Cause I'm on your side" from "On Your Side" is perhaps the closest the album comes to expressing spirituality, the rest of the album focusing on relational themes that could go either way.
Then again, this was never a band that spelled out its convictions all that clearly, so why start now? As it stands, this satisfying disc isn't as much a continuation of where the band left off, but rather an entirely new chapter from which Luna Halo can finally progress forward.