Olivia the Band
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2005 1 Jan
- Everyday Stars & Stripes
- Along the Way
- Shut It Out
- Kill the Grey
- Look to the Stars
- Kid Innocence
You thought Switchfoot was the only Christian rock band seriously into surfing. Olivia the Band (the descriptor avoids trademark conflicts with Olivia Newton John) hails from Haleiwa on the north shore of Hawaiian island Oahu. They take their name in remembrance of the loss of lead guitarist Justin Abilla's baby sister as a reminder of the hope of heaven. Along with Reed Cromwell (lead vocals, bass), Gabe Watts (guitar), and Christian Perreira (drums), the foursome relocated to San Diego after high school to pursue their musical dreams (thus maintaining their love of surfing in Switchfoot's home town).
Crisply produced by Bob Burch (East West, Number One Gun), Olivia's self-titled debut features the familiar mix of punk pop with hints of emo as heard by so many other new bands today. These guys aren't really into screaming or the overly rowdy punk sound, but it's also a little heavier than you might expect, sharing more in common with Mourning September and Side Walk Slam than the poppier sensibilities of Relient K and Jimmy Eat World. Considering that they're a brand new band, Olivia impresses with their energetic and varied playing.
Cromwell's lyrics do a fair job of balancing between Christian rhetoric and vague ramblings. Songs like "Heaven," "Kid Innocence," and "Missing" are obvious in their intentions without overly resorting to clichés. "39" is seemingly inspired by Jesus under the lash and all that he endured for us, while "Novocain" intensely expresses desensitization to violence and murder. Not everything comes together neatly, however. "Butterflies" is essentially about Philippians 4:8, but it's almost as scatterbrained as the thoughts represented by the song title.
Though Olivia clearly shows that they're a young band with a sound that's a little too familiar and routine, they've still served up a quality debut that has something to say.