Until My Heart Caves In
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2005 1 Aug
- Clap Your Hands
- Until My Heart Caves In
- Melody (Lost Inside the Wonder)
- Starting Over
- Are You Ready for Love
- Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher
- Light of the Sun
- All Around Me
- Losing Control
Few Christian bands last for more than ten years, but this one's going on fifteen. And it's no small feat to sell more than three million albums or score eighteen chart-topping singles on Christian radio. But with all due respect to Audio Adrenaline, it's amazing that they've maintained a fan base after all this time.
Not that they don't make good music. Like Petra over their 30-year career, Audio A's sound has varied significantly from album to album. The rock band that started in the early '90s flirted with hip-hop and programmed dance beats, only to embrace '70s-styled classic rock on
Which brings us to Audio A's ninth studio album, the intriguingly titled
Tyler Burkum's guitars and Ben Cissel's drums seem to benefit the most on this album, evidenced by songs like "Undefeated" and "Are You Ready for Love," with explosive outbursts reminiscent of Switchfoot while boldly challenging people to get up and love the world: "Are you too comfortable to join the revolution?" The anthemic "Melody (Lost Inside the Wonder)" features a harmonica hook and the same triple-rhythm feel made famous by bands like U2 and Coldplay. Speaking of which, the Brit band's signature piano sound is utilized in "Starting Over," a predictably powerful ballad of grace and reclaimed innocence, pushing all the right buttons in the same way as "Ocean Floor." Audio A is also known for classic rock covers open to spiritual interpretation—here they give a spirited remake of Otis Redding's classic "Your Love Is Lifting Me Higher."
The downside to all of this is that Audio A's lyrics have taken a giant step backwards. This is a band that used to be known for fun and clever songs like "Big House," "P.D.A.," "Get Down," "DC-10,"and most recently, "Dirty." The most original lyric of the new album is its title, which is another way to express "living for God until your body collapses," as lead singer Mark Stuart puts it, rather than serving him half-heartedly. That message pretty much sums up the rocking-but-repetitive opener "Clap Your Hands," undoubtedly written to get the crowd pumped at concerts. And the theme carries into the punk flavored title track, which simply declares, "I'm a warrior, I'm a warrior, I would die for You, for You."
The lack of lyrical originality doesn't stop there. "All Around Me" may be catchy, but its elementary expression of seeing the beauty of God in all creation is reminiscent of at least twenty other well-known songs from the last decade. And while radio single "King" packs an occasionally rocking punch, you've heard similar lyrics many times before: "The rulers of the earth will bow before Your throne/They'll bow before Your throne/The nations You have made will worship You alone/They'll worship You alone." All well and good, but when did this band get so serious and derivative?