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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Come Undone

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Mar
Come Undone
Sounds like … Southern-inspired modern rock and pop ballads, similar to Matchbox Twenty, NeedToBreathe, and The Turning, with some Maroon 5 and Coldplay thrown in.At a glance … Jackson Waters has a likeable sound, but their national debut doesn't capture their full rock potential, and the songs all cover familiar territory.Track Listing Everything
Give Me Amazing Grace
Come Undone
Jamie's Song
One More Day
Send Her an Angel
Center of Attention
Ready to Find Love
Give It All Away
Let It Fly

I caught Jackson Waters at a showcase in 2006 and they truly rocked the house. But when asked to explain what they were like, I struggled to find the words: "Um … rock band … they had guitars!" Interestingly, the press materials also had trouble describing Come Undone, suggesting that it's incomparable and unclassifiable. The band itself—hailing from John Brown University in Arkansas—can't elaborate either, describing their music as "life rock," because it's "music that is there for you, no matter what you're going through."

The problem with songs that apply to "whatever you're going through" is they tend to generically borrow from stock phrases. "Come Undone" is a typical plea for redemption, "Everything" is the usual pursuit-of-God rocker, and "Give Me Amazing Grace" is about … well, you know.

This album also repeats its lyrical cliché s. Take "Jamie's Song," which blandly hopes that a friend will find her way, and add to that "One More Day," which says "we will all be okay" if we just "hold on." It might end up resembling "Send Her an Angel," offering comfort to a friend with, "The dark will give way to a brand new day/It's okay, it's okay, it's okay." Likewise, both "Give It All Away" and "Let It Fly" tell us to let go of past shame and give it up to God.

As for the sound, it's unclassifiable because it's vanilla—likeable, tasty, but indistinct. "Center of Attention" has the most going for it with some jazz-inflected chord changes and that familiar Coldplay build-up, while the powerhouse title track offers a little bit of a Maroon 5 groove. But overall, this is Southern-inspired modern rock with too many middling pop ballads, echoing Matchbox Twenty and recent offerings from NeedToBreathe and The Turning.

In fairness, Jackson Waters sounds good and doesn't need to be put in a box. But they now sound too comparable, lacking the rock verve of their concerts and the stronger musical identity of their more rootsy independent album All That I Know.

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