- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2002 1 Sep
It's incredible to hear the number of artists who have improved themselves in 2002, if not reinvented their sound. Case in point, Pacific Northwest band Cadet. The melodic pop/rock quartet released not one, but two "debuts" in the spring of 2001 – their self-titled album, as well as the modern worship disc
Lead vocalist and guitarist Ryan Smith, bassist Jason Kennedy, and drummer Chad Basom welcome new member Matt Lenhart on keyboards and guitar. Matt adds just enough substance to Cadet's sound to elevate it above amateur garage rock. What's most impressive about
If you're skeptical about the Jars comparison, listen to "Change My Name," which is about sacrificing pride and humbling ourselves to be called Christ's own: "When it's all lost, I find a freedom / When it's all gone, I find a life / So give me a name and I'm yours." There's also a strong Jars of Clay similarity in "Blame," at least in the beginning. The song strongly suggests Christians can be just as much at fault concerning the problems of this world, especially when some would rather tear others down instead of uplift them and demonstrate the love of Christ. "Come Alive" has a dreamy alternative-pop sound and takes the perspective of a prodigal marveling that God can still love us after all we've done to disappoint him. The band gets especially acoustic on "High Tide," which details confession and absolution, with God washing away our past. The album's hidden track offers a fun contrast to the sound with an Erasure-styled electronic pop version of the song.
The artistic growth is absolutely remarkable, lyrically and musically. In the modern-rock ballad "Today," Ryan explores daily devotion from an angle I've never considered before: "If you say each day is like a thousand years, then why do I wait to love you?" The album's title is taken from "Two Stars to the Left," which poetically observes that our vantagepoint (our "observatory") changes from that of the rest of the world when we live the Christian life. "Wishing Well" expresses the mindset of someone running out of hope, desperately looking for something to place faith in; the sound is late Beatles, like something off of
The only weak song on the album is "Call Me," a simplistic melodic rocker that's more befitting of Cadet's debut. It happens to be a song of support and accountability, battling teen depression. Some may question the behavior suggested of the second verse – "If you're lonely, we could T.P. / Just like we're thirteen / Throwing our worries over rooftops and running off" – but I think we can forgive a harmless prank if it'll truly save a life. We also can put up with the sophomoric sound of "Call Me" because of the rest of the album. There's still room for improvement (there always is), but Cadet needs to be commended for coming so far in such a short amount of time. If you think you've heard this band before, think again. Listen to Cadet's