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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Model Citizen

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2000 1 Jan
Model Citizen

Just one look at the cover of Ash Mundae's debut, Model Citizen, and you'll probably think, "another boy band like Jake or perhaps Plus One." Well, they say not to judge an album by its cover. The two brothers who make up Ash Mundae can play their own instruments; both can sing, Jeremy plays drums and Chuck can handle both guitar and bass. That's impressive considering all the different styles they cover on Model Citizen. And while the brothers don't look old enough to remember the eighties, they sound a lot like many of the great eighties bands.

The title track sounds like the fun pop from the eighties that Wham! used to make. "Hope (Never Fade Away)" reminds me of the Police's "Every Breath You Take" with a little bit of the Outfield thrown in. There's the eighties techno-beat of "Heaven Waits," which will remind you of New Order or Erasure. Duran Duran seems to make an appearance on "You See," and Ash Mundae imitates Seal with "The Other Line." The brothers Ash certainly have talent, but the problem is they don't have a clearly defined sound. It's as if they decided to write their own version of Totally '80s or some other compilation. But if that's the case, they succeeded. They have created a collection of catchy and fun songs that tastefully captures the sound of early-mid eighties pop/rock. (Part of this achievement should go to producer Matt Bronleewe [Jars of Clay].)

The lyrics are a little on the juvenile side, but they're never amateur and their faith is clearly expressed, sometimes in a fun way. "Broke," for example, makes a case for saving our money for the poor and hungry rather than the record store — an interesting way to try and sell a debut album, but it's a fun song with a point well made. There's talent here and Model Citizen is a refreshingly fun Christian album, but Ash Mundae needs to prove that they're more than just clever mimics. I hope in time that Jeremy and Chuckie Ash will take the band a little further by writing even better songs with a little more substance, thereby better defining their band's sound.