Artist: Awake! Awake!
Album: We’ve Been Strangers
Reviewer: Tyler Hess
Hailing from the incredibly cool name of a town, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, this band has brought forth a solid effort of alt-rock along the lines of other indie bands that are known around here such as My Epic and Sleep For Sleepers, with vocals that often go into more of a Number One Gun/Kessler/Esterlyn type sound. To tell you the truth, I had so many bands that I wanted to compare these guys to simply because they refuse to stick to just one sound for the entirety of the album. They do have a sound that they gravitate back to, but they do get out of line on several occasions. Let’s just say that they have a full sound when they are doing it right and the songs tend to build up from where they start, with vocals that soar on eagle’s wings when they choose to fly.
We’ve Been Strangers starts off with a nice, but deceptive instrumental track, that was honestly hard for me to get past, much to my dismay. I thought the whole album was going to be like the first track, so I kept losing interest before finally giving the whole thing a go. Don’t let this happen to you. I’m not saying that the instrumental song is bad, I’m just saying it is easy to get distracted sometimes. The second track, “Daylight”, kicks the album into high gear, however, with a rocking song about stepping out of where we are and being able to change. When the next song, “Ocean” comes up, we can quickly see that the band likes to mix things up. Sometimes that is a good thing, sometimes not so much. Here we see them pull it back into a more straightforward rock song after a strange intro, but it also typifies a band trying to find itself somewhat. “Quickly I Take My Time” is up after that, slowing things up just a tad, while being possible the most straight forward of the songs, speaking of letting go of insecurities, selfishness and faithlessness, letting God do that work. The following track, “Of Architects and Entropy” not only proves that they know big words that few people use outside of a classroom, but is a shining example of using a picture to create a response, much like one could see in the book of Lamentations, exemplifying the difference between our foundation being in what we can build and what God can build in us. After that we are taken to an acoustic song, “All I Hold”, which feels a bit strained, but has a nice chorus to it, making me wonder what it would have felt like if it had a closer sound to the previous songs on the album. “The Fall / The Flight” begins the latter third of the record and strangely reminds me of one of the slower, more experimental tracks that “Newsboys” did on their “Love Liberty Disco” and Step Up To The Microphone” albums. “The Coming Night” has probably the most radio ready chorus, something worthy of Christian rock radio stations, but shows that they still have a little bit of cleaning up to do before they get there. “Daylight Outro”, in case you couldn’t tell, takes us home with the words that make up the album name and has a “Leeland” feel to it.
Looking at this song by song is telling me a lot, in case you didn’t pick up on it. This music is full of promise instrumentally, full of potential vocally and full of hope spiritually. If they keep working on it, they can certainly take a step up in the biz.