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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Apr
Sounds like … the atmospheric pop/rock of Starflyer 59, Pedro the Lion, or Damien Jurado. At a glance … formerly of twothirtyeight, singer/songwriter Chris Staples pens ten pensive and heartfelt cuts likely to connect with the indie rock crowdTrack ListingCall It in the Air1986From the 100th FloorStark HonestyGreen EyesTight Rope WalkerPhantom TreasureShiny TeethThe Halves That Make Us WholeEverything Changes

Fans of Tooth and Nail Records may recall Chris Staples from the band twothirtyeight. In the two years since that act's demise, Staples has taken up the alias Discover America and turned toward even more atmospheric indie rock/pop. On Psychology, the singer/songwriter evokes the likes of label mates Starflyer 59 and mainstream mainstays like Pedro the Lion and Damien Jurado. Message-wise, the album is somewhat conceptual in nature, tracing patterns of human behavior.

Like his previous band, nods to spirituality aren't always overt, but there's still a vertical thread that runs through the record. Explaining the album's title in the liner notes, Staples says, "Christ is a bridge we can cross … out of that ancient way into a land of greater thinking." Across the stomping guitars and swinging backbeat of "Stark Honesty," he points out how people put on masks in order to please others, while the low-fi acoustics of "The Halves That Make Us Whole" discusses denial and confusion.

On the comical front, "1986" is a retro throwback that reminiscences of days wearing Roos shoes, corduroy pants and vinyl chairs. The playfulness continues throughout the lounge jazz of "Everything Changes" and the mix of bouncy programming and instrumentation of "Shiny Teeth." Even though the album heavily focuses more on artistry than a gospel message, the lyrics are positive and touch on faith in a way that may encourage some mainstream listeners to at least reflect on their spiritual side.

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