Picking Up the Pieces
- reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2003 1 Apr
Already a staple of indie alternative circles with two self-released records and a few moderate hit singles, Seventh Day Slumber need not worry about their national debut finding a captive audience. The band has developed a sturdy following thanks to its regular appearances at the Acquire the Fire teen conventions, which make up part of their 200-date travel itinerary every year. Given Seventh Day Slumber's receptive fan base, it only makes sense to take its latest recording to a national level, which comes courtesy of the Crowne Music Group and WEA distribution.
Even though Seventh Day Slumber sounds like every other current flavor of the week on their latest endeavor,
It's from that biting perspective (as opposed to the band's diversity free musical makeup) that makes them a valid force in Christian music today, hitting on issues that no one else would touch with a ten foot pole. The potent, suicide discouraging imagery on album opener "I Know" is one of the many lyrical examples that are far from sugar coated, despite the predictable guitar grunts and throaty, post grunge vocals. On "Running Away," Rojas once again slumps into throaty Scott Stapp and Eddie Vedder singing mode, but at least the lyrics are bold, touching on people's tendency to back down from problems instead of facing them head on. Lines like: "Followed my feet to nowhere again/Wherever I go there I am/I'm stuck on this road/Life just keeps passing me by/What can I do to get beyond these walls that are laughing at me?/Sentence to life and the prison is my mind" point to members' self-admitted spiritual demise.
Allusions to addiction and the desperation involved in recovering from depression are further unfurled within the scopes of "Spiraling" and "Something." Again, both cuts are predictably cut from the same cloth as say a Lifehouse or The Calling at their heavier moments (with hints of Collective Soul), but its impossible to ignore the vulnerability expressed in their messages. "Spiraling" talks about walking off the narrow path and wandering down a continuing funnel of sin while "Something" is an all out plea to be released from hopeless entrapment. Melodramatic cookie cutter ballad "My Struggle" (practically a Staind or Tantric clone) and militant modern rocker "Candy" (Default or Fuel anyone?) also fit into that thematic category as Rojas looks back on his very own Prodigal son story.
It's with that track, along with the title cut, that the pendulum swings toward members' personal redemption, which is intended to lead struggling listeners to do the same. The chorus of "Picking Up the Pieces" is a particularly assertive prayer for recommitment to Christ, though it warns that struggles and challenges will still remain after that decision. Rojas moans in humility: "So I'm picking up the pieces once again/Falling to my knees/That is where I saw your hand/I've been here way too many times."
If Seventh Day Slumber had a more inventive musical direction, then