- 2003 1 Jul
The band now known as Re:Zound originally formed in Tempe, Arizona, in 1997 under the name Switch. Their heavy rock sound reflects the range of influences of the six band members, including Creed, Linkin Park, Def Leppard, P.O.D., Pearl Jam, Incubus, and Skillet. Over the years, the sextet played as a house band at local clubs to develop their live performance and fund more recording. In 1999, they hooked up with producer Ken Mary (LaRue, Alice Cooper) and to record an independent album, which led to unexpected success. Their single, "Angel," garnered airplay on a number of mainstream radio stations, and helped the band earn the title of "MTV's #1 Undiscovered Artist" in 2001 via the Internet. Once it was learned that there was a band already called Switch, Re:Zound was born.
The interesting part about Re:Zound's success thus far is that they are also a popular worship band, leading 5,000 one weekend a month at Mesa, Arizona's, Living Word Bible Church. Their commitment to ministry is undoubtedly one of the reasons they've turned down a number of record contracts with mainstream labels. In early 2003, Re:Zound was asked to travel with Dick Bernal's
Jubilee International Ministries to India, performing for 30,000
at an annual conference. This commitment to praise & worship is
reflected in the band's ministry (they tour churches regularly)
and the theme of their new album,
Re:Zound and their publicists should be commended for delivering a very comprehensive press kit (independent artists, take note) that includes biographical material, a CD-ROM with images, a DVD with promotional video footage, a final (i.e. complete) copy of the
All this is generally irrelevant in re:gards to Re:Zound's
What's more disappointing is the band's trade of thoughtful lyrics for standard worship rhetoric. Jason, who also serves as Re:Zound's primary lyricist, says he wanted to create a biblically inspired worship album because not enough modern worship songs incorporate the Word. While that's true of some worship songs and albums, there are certainly numerous examples of new worship songs that do lift their lyrics straight out of Scripture. It's neither unique, nor does it necessarily endear itself—many of the best-loved hymns over the centuries have relied on original expressions of faith rather than rehashed Bible quotes.
The album's only cover is a lifeless and lumbering rendition of the classic worship ballad "I Exalt Thee." Even more dull is the poorly written "In This Place (Sanitaire)," which will have you thirsting for a new idea after the first verse: "And I will lift my voice and I will worship You/From this day in this place, Lord, I will seek Your face/On my knees, Lord, I fall unto You offering all/From this day, in this place/Lord I will seek Your face/From this day, in this place." The lyrics continue with repetitive variations on "from this day," "in this place," and "I will worship You."
After fully digesting all of the press materials, I still had difficulty in appreciating the tremendous buzz surrounding Re:Zound. This band has a tight sound and plays well, but aside from the strong rhythm section (particularly drummer Terry Dillard), the musicians don't distinguish themselves. The guitarists tend to favor a wall-of-sound approach over proficiency. For all of the high-profile live performances, Re:Zound demonstrates very little stage presence. And as capable a lead vocalist as Jason is—he sounds like Jason Wade (Lifehouse) crossed with David Crowder and worship leader David Ruis—there are still moments of intonation, pinched tonal quality, and improper breath support to be found, even now after six years of fronting the band.
This is a worship band with promise, but not yet one that will make millions scramble to buy albums and worship
resources. Which is not to say that
But let's not go overboard and call Re:Zound unique or revolutionary just yet. The sound is mostly there, but the songwriting is not. If Re:Zound feels called to be a high-profile modern worship band, what they really need (more than a sound) is a worship anthem that the church will widely embrace and want to sing, like Delirious did in their earlier days with "Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble" and "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever." Come to think of it, if MTV got this excited about Re:Zound, what would their reaction be to Delirious?