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Hello from the Children of Planet Earth

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Aug
Hello from the Children of Planet Earth
Sounds like … the indie emo-rock of Mae, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Dashboard Confessional, with the progressive undercurrents of Cool Hand Luke, Edison Glass, and Brave Saint SaturnAt a glance … Hundred Year Storm shows great promise for a young band, but their skillful instrumentation, trained sound, and passionate lyricism is compromised by some long and meandering arrangementsTrack Listing 00:01 Yesterday We Had It All Walking Away from What You Deserve August on Fire Where Beauty Never Dies The Golden Record All This Time Beloved Winter Is Always Good for Broken Hearts Reach Crash and Burn Pilot's Last Broadcast

"I hope my voice may perpetuate the great work of my life." That quote from an 1890 recording of Florence Nightingale appropriately kicks off this full-length debut from Hundred Year Storm, perhaps serving as a mission statement for Hello from the Children of Planet Earth.

For a band that's only been together since 2003, the Austin, Texas quartet is off to a strong start, demonstrating skillful instrumentation and a precise indie rock sound driven by shimmering electric guitar soundscapes. Blending the best qualities of Mae, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Dashboard Confessional, they comfortably straddle the fence between pop, rock, and emo. Hundred Year Storm is melodic to the core, equally comfortable delivering a short love song ("August on Fire") and an epic rocker with delightfully progressive touches (the worshipful and outstanding "Reach").

They may, however, be too progressive for their own good—or not enough, depending on your perspective. Too many tracks ("The Golden Record," "Beloved," "Pilot's Last Broadcast") meander between six and nine minutes, driven more by intrusive audio samples than compelling instrumental jams. Not that there isn't purpose and meaning to these songs, but they're simply not engaging enough (on an album) to hold attention, and too vague in what they're trying to communicate.

The shorter lyrical songs fare better here with poetic cries for restoration ("Winter Is Always Good for Broken Hearts") and renewal (the explosive "Crash and Burn," seemingly inspired by Ezekiel 37). "All This Time" could be interpreted spiritually or romantically, "Walking Away from What You Deserve" extols the beauty of grace, and "Where Beauty Never Dies" is a fairly clear declaration of faith— "Whatever I've gained is loss/Whatever the price, I'll pay/Whatever the road, I'll take to find you." Sharpening the songwriting and arrangements will only help them over time, but Hundred Year Storm already seems more experienced than they really are with an impressively trained and imaginative sound.

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