Release Date: July 29, 2008
Review By: Scott L
01. Vital Signs
02. Settled For
04. What’s To Be Afraid Of
06. Underneath My Skin
07. Looking For Love
09. Here Comes The King
10. New Beginnings
Let me start by saying that everything about this 10-track CD is totally first rate. From the mix, to the packaging, to the creativity of the lyrics, it’s completely professional. Clemency has everything covered… and in style. For those reading this that may be somewhat vernacularly challenged, the band takes it’s name from the word clemency which is a synonym for mercy. I would assume the album title, Vapors, was taken from James 4:14, where James asks and answers the question “what is your life? it is even a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” This theme is continued into the CD jacket which contains two black and white pictures of whisping smoke. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved to watch smoke rise… except of course the time my car had an engine fire… but even then there was a certain dark fascination. But I digress. Taking the theme in context of scripture, it adds an underlying revelation to this album’s overall message that life is brief even in the best of circumstances. No one has a lease on life. No one lives forever. And no one has a guarantee of tomorrow. That’s a truth that we would all do well to apply to our own lives. We are but vapors… here today… and gone in an instant.
Wow, I was waxing philosophical there for a moment. Where was I? Sweet production values, sweet packaging and layout, sweet lyrics, sweet band name, sweet album title. So far, so good. But the real question in any review always comes down to this; how do they sound? And I have to answer honestly… they sound pretty sweet. I like these guys. And by ‘these guys’ I mean Jason and Paul Watkins, the two brothers that are Clemency, as well as the myriad other musicians credited with making this CD the work of art that it is. Clemency describes themselves as “a band of brothers. The songs that we write are a reflection of the hope, love and joy that we seek. We aim to please ears, but more importantly, we aim to encourage friends to seek hope, love and joy with us. Christ represents all of these to us and is the reason we make music.”
Clemency is an ambient indie rock band hailing from Tennessee. And one thing you’ll notice right off the bat is that they know how to write great music with deep, meaningful lyrics that don’t shy away from letting the listener know that they love God. Not in a canned CCM sorta way, but in an earnest intertwining of thoughts and phrases that comes off very natural and yet, very powerful.
As far as style goes, Clemency bears a certain resemblance to Snow Patrol (circa Eyes Open), Search/Rescue, Brighten, and maybe even Blackpool Lights. And while the musicianship is all well done, what rises to the top as you listen to this CD is the vocal ability of these two brothers. They have great range and the way they harmonize with each other is amazing.
The standout track for me was “Inside”. Not only does it have a way cool groove to it, but the message is as driving as the music. Truth be told, though, there really isn’t a bad song on here. At least, not in my most humble of opinions. And, hey, I’m writing the review, so deal with it. They’re all good.
Overall: It’s obvious that a lot of work went into this release and it shows. It’s well-balanced and nicely polished. And if you’re looking for some smooth indie rock that’ll sweep you off your feet, and maybe even if you’re not, you need to check these guys out.