- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2003 1 Aug
Two-and-a-half years after their debut CD, Ten Shekel Shirt returns to the scene with their anticipated sophomore effort. The simple title of
And "much" has changed since. The band added guitarist Jake Carey to the lineup of drummer Austin Morrison, bassist Tommy Lee, and singer/guitarist/lyricist Lamont Hiebert. Produced by Brent Milligan (and Monroe Jones on one track),
Hence the band's commitment to not just telling about God's love, but showing it. They recently became involved with International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org), an organization aiding the world's voiceless oppressed. In fact, Ten Shekel Shirt started Justice For Children International in their current home of New Haven, Connecticut, to assist IJM by raising awareness. This new mission inspired "Over the Room," a kind and comforting song with joyous lyrics based on a true story about a girl held captive in a room without sunlight; it also serves as a metaphor for anyone who has broken free from oppression, physical or spiritual.
It's appropriately followed by the soaring ballad "Always Known You," which offers the perspective of one who encounters God intimately for the first time: "The silence may not cry out with sound, but it speaks Your name, Your names/And the dreaming of a better place, it rests deep in me." Even better is "This Story," an energetic song reminiscent of Counting Crows that expresses the thoughts of a non-believer coming to Christ, likening it to walking in on a movie late: "I haven't been here very long/Easily I could get this story all wrong." The first AC radio single "Poorest King" is also geared toward new Christians. Building nicely from a contemplative piano sound to a densely layered modern pop production, it serves as a concise testimony/creed following Christ from the manger to the tomb, all "to see Him as He is without a veil between/Face to face again for all eternity."
Fans who really enjoyed the band's original worship sound needn't fear. Ten Shekel Shirt has recorded another worship album, which will be available in 2004 to help raise funds for IJM. Nevertheless, give this album a chance. The band's newfound fascination with Brit-flavored pop/rock is nothing revolutionary—artists such as Paul Colman Trio and By the Tree have approached it with similar results—but it is still done very well. More impressive still are Hiebert's lyrics, which are much more thoughtful and insightful this time.