Artist:  Ten Shekel Shirt
Title:  Jubilee
Label:  Rounder Records

Fantastic return for pop/rock band …

Lamont Hiebert has returned from his musical sabbatical. Normally, after selling 150,000 albums, the focus is on moving forward. Yet the front man and songwriter for Ten Shekel Shirt quietly exited to focus on another calling and passion:  forming Love146—a non-profit organization dedicated to helping end child slavery and exploitation.

The theme of freedom pervades this return to form entitled Jubilee. “I’m walking up to your tomb to call your name/To give you a new start/Remove your shame,” sings Hiebert on “Surprised.” It’s an acoustic ebb and flow that yearns like Vertical Horizon’s slower tracks. “You Rescue” continues the lyrical thread with lines like “You will never stop restoring what’s been lost.” All the while, Hiebert makes certain the musicianship matches the lyrics, especially on “You Rescue” whose chorus is immediately memorable.

“Spark” ups the ante and tempo as a solid pop/rock radio tune that includes Hiebert’s falsetto and slight Brit-rock builds. “En Garde” is an album highlight complete with slight street-beat-sampling and a perfectly placed string section. It’s a darker number that grabs your attention immediately. Album closer “It’s Slavery” kick starts the end with a Switchfoot-esque twist.

All things considered, it’s great to have Ten Shekel Shirt back. The band’s early albums showed great promise, and Hiebert & Co. make sure to remind us of that.



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**This review first published on September 1, 2008.