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Three Seconds to Gaze

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 May
Three Seconds to Gaze
Sounds like … a strange hybrid of classic '70s metal, '80s alternative, '90s grunge, and contemporary hard rock that draws upon the sounds of Jane's Addiction, Holy Soldier, Audioslave, LSU, The Call, and Led ZeppelinAt a glance … Homeless J will be an acquired taste for some and simply too weird for others, but the Midwestern band deserves credit for a distinctive hard rock sound with poetic (and cryptic) spiritual lyricsTrack Listing The Flash Beauty Boy To Uona B-Fly Did You See It? Slip Sister Man on the Radio Bra in the Window Not the Sun If I Could Raise Myself from the Dead

A Lutheran minister with a passion for hard rock and poetic lyrics, Chad Van Meter (aka The Flash) and his bandmates hail from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, where they spent years developing their sound in bars and clubs across the Midwest. MCA Records even had the quintet signed and ready to go, only to shut down before their album could street. Now Homeless J finally makes its debut on Selectric Records with one of the year's more unique sounding releases.

Produced by veterans John and Dino Elefante (where have these guys been?), Three Seconds to Gaze should appeal to metal fans looking for something more left field than the usual Christian hard rock. Start with the alternative grunge metal of Jane's Addiction or Holy Soldier, then add some classic Led Zeppelin with a modern sounding band like Audioslave, and you've got something that resembles Homeless J—an amalgamation of harder art rock styles from the last thirty years. There's even some '80s alternative with songs like "Man on the Radio," resembling The Call, Simple Minds, and Wang Chung.

On top of that, Van Meter provides some of the most poetic-though-puzzling spiritual lyrics around. His faith is clearly the inspiration behind songs like "The Flash," "B-Fly," "Beauty Boy," and "Did You See It?" ("I can trust what I can't see"). There's a certain pleasure in deciphering cryptic songwriting, but the artful intentions sometimes makes the words too confusing. For example, it's pretty evident that "Sister" was written to help a girl cope with the guilt of an abortion, but good luck figuring out "Bra in the Window," and who's "Uona" anyway?

This is an act destined for a cult following rather than broad success, and while it's refreshing to hear a rock band try something different, but does that necessarily make it good? Depends on the listener—Homeless J will seem an oddity to some and a godsend to others.

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