- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2004 1 May
- Psalm 13
- I Miss You
- May the Few
- Beauty for Ashes
- Still at Shore
- The Answer
- I Want It All
- Chapter One
It's been a very good year for Shane Barnard & Shane Everett, now officially known as Shane & Shane. Their strong grassroots following, rivaling that of Caedmon's Call, is causing their star to rise quickly.
Which makes the publicity and marketing surrounding Shane & Shane's latest release a tad unusual.
It's not. Maybe it succeeds because the classic acoustic approach suits The Shanes better than polished AC pop. Or maybe it's more representative of their live concert sound. Regardless,
For starters, the sound isn't all that stripped. This is not a typical unplugged album with two vocals, acoustic guitar, and some light percussion. True, it's primarily driven by acoustic guitars, but there's also some drum kit, bass guitar, programmed percussion, piano, accordion, and mandolin. Adding Will Hunt to the mix was the key. His imaginative input keeps things interesting with cool stereo effects and intriguing sounds. While there is an earthiness to the overall album, it's rarely predictable or boring. Also, The Shanes say they had to compete with local neighborhood noise when recording the album, almost suggesting that the recording quality isn't up to par. Fortunately, these ears couldn't detect any garbage trucks or planes in the background. I think most people will be surprised how good it sounds for being recorded in a small space with limited time, resources, and microphones.
What's more, the four remakes are impressive, improving on the originals in each case without altering them too much or too little. They've created an awesome new version of "The Answer" from their
With the six new songs, primary songwriter Barnard again reveals himself a modern psalmist.
The Shanes do have a tendency to write simplistic worship ballads that sound too similar to each other, as heard on "Yearn" and "Chapter One"—moving, but rather forgettable. Still, the latter is made interesting with an extended acoustic jam at the end. Some have said The Shanes are popular because they've found a way to express God's Word simply, yet effectively. There's truth to that, but don't discount their often overlooked musicianship and production, which helps elevate The Shanes' music from basic folk pop to worship music that is powerful, captivating, and intelligent.