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'Til We See the Shore

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2008 1 Jun
'Til We See the Shore
Sounds like … the piano-based, melodic rock of The Fray or NeedToBreathe with the Brit pop influences of Coldplay and The DovesAt a glance … a solid debut for Seabird with catchy alt-pop and encouraging lyrics, even if it often resembles the work of several similar styled bands from the last five yearsTrack Listing Black and Blue Apparitions Not Alone Rescue Let Me Go On Stronger Cotton Mouth (Jargon) Patience Sometimes Falling for You Maggie Mahoney 'Til We See the Shore

Nearly five years ago, the Cincinnati-based Seabird formed to compete in a "battle of the bands" contest, and have since played a variety of venues both Christian and secular. As for their musical style, imagine the piano-based pop of The Fray and NeedToBreathe crossed with the Brit influences of Coldplay and The Doves.

That may all sound fairly routine and familiar for a new band, but as clearly demonstrated through their national debut, 'Til We See the Shore, Seabird is very good at what they do. Credential Recordings has always excelled at introducing stylish indie rock bands with a subtle spiritual side, while producers Jacquire King (Modest Mouse, Switchfoot) and Allen Salmon (Mute Math, Sanctus Real) ensure that the sound is relevant to the current scene. But credit Seabird for catchy and well-executed songs that don't emulate those of their peers too closely. All the components work together beautifully, from the haunting alt-pop of "Apparitions" (with a piano riff that bears some resemblance to Coldplay's "Clocks") to "Cotton Mouth (Jargon)," which features a slow-burn dynamic swell that completely changes the song's from somber to playful by the song's end.

Seabird's songwriting offers encouragement by exploring everyday themes from a redemptive angle, and it's not hard to surmise what kind of hope the band is alluding to with a title like 'Til We See the Shore. Amidst straightforward love songs like "Stronger" and "Falling for You," the radio single "Rescue" is easily the album's most overtly Christian track: "The earth moves and you find me alive and unworthy/Broken and empty, but you don't care/'Cause you are my rapture, you are my savior/When all my hope is gone, I reach for you." A song like "Patience" reads like an abstract Prodigal's tale, and "Apparitions" could be interpreted as a challenge to not be afraid to let the world in our "house," so long as we keep it clean.

Listeners looking for explicitly Christian lyricism won't find it here, and I know some will take offense to the wording of "Let Me Go On," a catchy song that apparently recounts a potential band breakup: "Just give me one more song/If it sucks we all go home/If not, we sing along." Seabird is hardly a groundbreaking or original sounding band, but their music is enjoyable enough while hinting at something greater—much like their songwriting.

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