Wake Up, O Sleeper
- reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2003 1 Mar
Over the past four years, Murfreesboro, Tennessee-based Cool Hand Luke has become a club favorite in the southern states. The band embarked on two national tours and appeared at the coveted Cornerstone Festival.
Catch the band in concert sometime, and you'll immediately notice something unique about them before they hit their first chord — they perform with their backs to the crowd, a technique that's rarely (if ever) implemented by rock bands. The gimmick has helped Cool Hand Luke earn significant buzz. A recent reader's poll in
The result is the 10-track opus
A difficult-to-pigeonhole-but-creatively-delightful bliss is first delivered on "Heroes Will Be Heroes" with its rugged alternative ambiance, striking build up, and stewing vocals. Its message revolves around our desire to be in control of our lives when in reality we are all vulnerable and fragile without the leadership of the Lord. "Dreams For Sale" is a natural extension of those thoughts, calling to light even believers' tendencies to selfishly seek the gain of the world, in spite of knowing deep down that it's merely fleeting. Cool Hand Luke's wake-up call to listeners includes thoughts such as: "We strive for 401K/But we could make a trade for eternity/Put down those papers, put down the phone/Put down those fake diamonds and impostor cologne."
Cuts like the sonically shimmering "Nobody Hugs a Rose" and the melancholic sonnet "Like a Bell Tolling from Another World" are also rich in emotion and description, focusing on other real-life struggles that encourage all to seek out Truth in the end. "Nobody Hugs a Rose" mirrors the Prodigal Son story, speaking about a girl weighed down by her slavery to sin who eventually rededicates her life to Christ: "She steps into her bedroom and falls onto the floor/She cries out to her savior that she just can't take no more/Jesus says 'Girl I've been waiting for this very day/When I could pick you up and strip those dirty thorns away.'" "Like a Bell Tolling from Another World" makes a brief allusion to a non-believer's skepticism toward the Lord's glorious role in creation, but Cool Hand Luke paints a vivid picture in hopes of convincing them of the contrary: "One thousand years in a day, 100 billion galaxies/Are but the fringe of his works, a whisper of reality."
Besides these true-to-life struggles that delve into the inner psyche of the human existence, Cool Hand Luke also weaves in moments of all out praise and adoration. For instance, "This Is Love" is a gentle poem analyzing the outpouring of Christ's love through his Crucifixion, backed by swelling electric guitars, stinging percussion, and pleading vocals. "For You" is an all out apology for the foolishness of our fallen state, steeped in reflective praise over the delicate interplay of an acoustic guitar, piano, and violin. Nicks's tenderly prostrates "But if I'm a fool, I'm a fool for you/And if I'm alive, I'm living just for you/If I sing a song, then I sing for you/I sing all day long in everything I do."
Even if this band's musical influences and topical explorations don't immediately grab you, consider trying