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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Sep
Sounds like … an amalgam of funk, pop, rock, reggae, and soul artists, including The Roots, Jack Johnson, Beck, Family Force 5, and Maroon 5At a glance … Fundamental Elements seamlessly blends several styles into one satisfying collection of mostly relationship-oriented songsTrack Listing Intro Summer of 2001 Untied Three or Four Miles Bad News No Good to Me Living Out Loud Miss Match Feel Alright Brand New Guitar Queen Interlude You Know NYC You and I

For anyone who has yet to find that perfect summer soundtrack, Fundamental Elements' Untied may just be the ticket. That's pretty high praise for an unknown band, but much like Beck's groundbreaking Odelay or Maroon 5's Songs About Jane, Fundamental Elements has a knack for switching things up genre-wise from start to finish in a way that's tasteful and non-jarring.

Fusing together pop, rock, reggae, R&B, funk, and soul, most of the songs address the age-old relationship quandaries in a fresh way, whether it's the I-already-have-a-significant-other-so-please-stay-away sentiment of "Bad News," the she-deserves-better-than-this-guy message of "Miss Match" or the celebratory, this-woman-rocks-my world praises of "Queen." While there isn't specific spiritual take-away in these tracks, it's immediately evident that the band is operating from a different mindset than its top-40 counterparts, which is refreshing in contrast to, say, Maroon 5's more sexually explicit material.

But for those searching for something deeper, there are threads of spirituality to be found, most notably on the laidback, horn-accentuated "Living Out Loud," which encourages listeners to pursue the dreams that God has for them. And "Feel Alright," while a little more introspective in nature, weaves together a clever, funk-laden tale of someone who's desperately searching for meaning in life.

Of course, no essential summer soundtrack would be complete without the requisite "fun" tracks, right? Fundamental Elements doesn't disappoint there either with the catchy, Jack Johnson-esque "Brand New Guitar" and "Summer of 2001," a poppy ode to all that's great about the more laidback, sunshine months.

Started during their college years at Greenville College (Jars of Clay's alma mater), these St. Louis natives have amassed quite a following and been voted as the "Best band in St. Louis" by the musicians competing in the 2005 Emergenza Finals. In addition, the band continues to play around 125 dates per year, sharing the stage with the likes of Matisyahu, Matt Wertz, Will Hoge, and Shawn McDonald.

Comprised of J. Benjamin Kesler, Russ Mohr, and brothers Luke and Mark DeJaynes, the group's goal is to create "timeless music that has no boundaries that can be appreciated by people of all demographics." Mission accomplished.

For more information about the band, check out or

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