Space Love & Bull Fighting: A Magnificent Combination
- Dan Schantz Entertainment Writer
- 2002 4 Apr
The album is a musical journey from modern rock normality into a flurry of creative experimentation. The album starts with what sounds like B-52s-with-crunchy-guitars (Space and Mexico) and ends with a song of casual, even dreamy vocals that flips abruptly into a jazz-backed monologue about life in a monastery, and other motifs (Space Love & Bullfighting Suite). True to form, Havalina offers a combination of modern rock, '80s alternative, traditional Spanish, and music that is outright strange.
Lyrics usually focus on . . . well -- space, love, and bull fighting. The songs touch on madness, the fall of a matador, singing cowboys, love, almost-breaking-up and breaking up. The production works rather well. Instrumentation is competent but not striking (not surprising for a group exhibiting so much diversity over the years), but the band uses musical styles the way some composers use instruments: styles weave in and out from track to track -- and within each track -- to tie together lyrical themes.
The lyrics are the album's most profound strength. Songs speak of adventure, tragedies, and romantic love with a tenderness, honesty and creativity that can be shocking, in the best way. While some artists on Christian radio struggle to rise above the cliché, and while so many bands on non-Christian radio make a name by caring as little as possible, it is magnificent to see a group of Christians dismissing the trite and singing about the winsome, the heartrending and the amusing in an original and compassionate way.