Album Review :
Esterlyn - Lamps

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Artist: Esterlyn
Album: Lamps
Label: Rooster Records
Release Date: February 26, 2008
Review by: Eric Pettersson

Tracklist:
1. Tie the Leaves
2. Kill Your Own Despair
3. We All Need
4. Seasons of Grey
5. This Mystery
6. Reveal Your Love
7. Emptiness
8. Back to the Start
9. Faster, Faster
10. Like the Rain
11. Lamps
12. About You

The packaging to this CD is awesome. I’ve never seen a lyric booklet fit into the front quite like that before, and the artwork is equally fantastic. Once inside, a CD will be found with 12 tracks of alternative pop rock that have been heavily worked on by a certain Jeff Schneeweis (Number One Gun), who not only produced this record but also co-wrote some of the songs and added his own guitars and backing vocals here and there too. Now that we’ve gotten the coolness-factor/ scene-cred out of the way, let’s talk about Esterlyn themselves, and this debut that is causing a quiet buzz to begin in the back of this genre’s mind.

Energy and harmony. If Lamps had to be defined in two words, it would be energy and harmony. It’s true that the thing is packed with great melodies on songs like “Seasons of Grey.” And the thoughtful lyrics tie everything together with a strong focus on God’s incredible love for us, knowing that love, and living like we know it. “About You” is a great song admiring the godliness of the writer’s father. But what really stands out here is the energy and harmony. “Faster, Faster” features a fun chorus that’s sure to get crowds bouncing at concerts, and “Tie the Leaves” is another great example of the energy that characterizes this album, although some softer tracks like “Emptiness” use acoustic guitars and slower tempos to provide relief and variety to Lamps as a whole (but even the chorus to that track is moderately danceable). And whether it’s the well crafted guitar parts on “Reveal Your Love” or the background vocals on pretty much every chorus, harmony seems to be the other point that really drives the melodies home.

Esterlyn are what you could call a gateway band. The rest in that strange position that links mainstream (Christian?) rock with indie rock. For example, they could just as easily draw in fans of The Afters or Sanctus Real as they could fans of The Fold or, um, Number One Gun. Whether or not they’ll stick around for the long run is probably more dependent on their tour schedule and what comes of a sophomore release, but as a means to get the Esterlyn name out there, Lamps does the trick.

7/10

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