The Lonely Separation
- reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Jun
- Meant to Be
- More Than a Memory
- Ode to the Complete
- Why Follow
- We Are All Chosen
- Something More
- Mid Life Crisis
- That Way Your Life
As an aspiring novelist, I can't help but have a soft spot for Indie artists looking for their big break. Like anything worth pursuing, it's a difficult road paved with its share of challenges, the majority of which are financial. Yet artists soldier on to fulfill their need for self-expression, as evidenced by my overflowing bin of album submissions in my office (and my own unfinished drafts). So every once in a while, I stumble upon a band I wish I could give a huge sum of cash to—that is, if I had some—because I'd love to hear what they would sound like with full-scale, big-budget production.
There's a saying around Nashville that it all comes down to the songs—and up-and-coming Auckland, New Zealand band Zebulun definitely has them. But their debut CD The Lonely Separation could have really benefited from a few more bells and whistles in the production so that people could actually hear the quality of frontman Aaron Healy's vocals. Ditto for the guitars, which are buried in a rather muddy mix. But like the proverbial diamond in the rough, Zebulun shines despite these pitfalls, thanks to some thoughtful songwriting.
Much like Switchfoot, Zebulun wrestles with existential philosophy in the majority of their songs—understanding our purpose as believers ("Meant to Be"), desiring to leave a memorable imprint on this earth ("More Than a Memory"), and willing to go against the grain ("Why Follow"). But rather than try to offer up some feel-good psychobabble in the form of a three-minute pop song, Zebulun is eager to address the flaws as well as the beauty, particularly in the well-written title track: "We're all part of the corporation/All signed to the federation/But what is it we're trying to be?/It feels like a lonely separation."
This boldness in songwriting, as well as a feisty indie artist spirit, is what makes The Lonely Separation stand out in a crowd. Of course, a few extra dollars for stronger production values couldn't hurt either.
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St. Paul, MN 55101
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