Band: I Anthem
Title: The Things Our Eyes Can’t See
Release Date: 2009
Review By: Scott L
- The Fastlane
- My Own Worst Enemy
- We The Symphony
- Accidentals In The Carousel
- Scarlet Letters
- Our Father’s Work
I Anthem, not to be confused with iCarly, just kidding… is a 4-piece aggressive alt-rock outfit that calls Greenville, South Carolina home. These guys had been a blip on my musical radar for a while now, so I knew that I would have to review their 6-song EP at some point. And finally the stars aligned and the CD appeared in my mailbox. Well, it didn’t happen quite like that… but you get the point. It’s here. It’s been logging time in my various CD players. And so I’m feeling highly reviewerish.
I call I Anthem’s music aggressive because it is. Not necessarily aggressive by today’s hard rock or metalcore standards… but while smooth and polished, the songs maintain a raw edge that bites at the senses like a rusty saw blade being drug across your cochlea. But in a pleasant sorta way. I call it alt-rock because of the various elements enmeshed into the musical presentation. For the most part I Anthem could, and some might argue should, be labeled simply as straight forward rock. I guess I could agree with that to a degree, it just doesn’t capture the full picture. In essence, sure. But as a whole, there’s a lot of alternative peeking out of the mix. Anyway, that’s my take on the highly subjective nature of labeling a band’s style. Whatever you want to call them, these guys would be right at home on a playlist with including the likes of Therefore I Am, Esme, or A Thorn For Every Heart.
Lyrically, I Anthem really put their money where their mouth is. Consider the song “Fastlane” which says, “the fastlane isn’t all it’s made to be / the streets flood with regret and misery / someday you’ll look back and see / and wish that you had listened to me / I’ve always heard the hand moves faster than the eye / life’s a ticking clock / the time sure flew by / I’m convinced the hour hand is the fastest of all / so we all sit in silence / waiting for the final hour to call / slow down your pace now / you’re finding how quick time runs out / deep breaths to savor this / someday we’ll all be missed / the present will reminisce / when will we learn”. Or how about “My Own Worst Enemy” which says, “attempts to die to myself and watch this old man die / redeem what I have done wrong / and fight this urge inside / reveals I’m fighting myself / looking for someone to blame / I am my own worst enemy / I know the weakness plaguing me / step back and watch as I self-destruct / wait for God to come around and pick me up / I’m sick of defeating myself / oh God I really could use your help / strap that cross to my back / take it around one more lap / my God in Heaven above / hallowed be thy name / your kingdom here in my heart / let your justice reign / lead me not into temptation”.
Having talked a bit with these guys, I got the distinct impression that they were exactly what they claimed to be. Four guys doing their best to serve God by means of the talents He’s blessed them with. This would include, but certainly isn’t limited to, their musical talents. They’re not trying to be the next big thing… they’re simply trying to point people in the direction of the one big thing… Jesus and His sacrificial love.
The band’s myspace says, “Every passing day we are learning that our music has a purpose that is greater than just trying to please our listeners’ ears. We have seen how beautiful and powerful of a tool music can be in our lives and others. We feel that love and community has been lost in race, politics, religion, etc. Everyone in this band has found life and purpose in Christ. However, we do not want to create music that gets segregated to Christians. Regardless of what a person believes or how they look, we all deserve to be loved. We want to create songs that join all peoples and all voices. On and off stage, this band’s heart is intended for more than fame and money. Our hearts are meant to bleed love and compassion.”
As far as the name, Tyler E. explains, “I Anthem is a combination of two words we really believe in. The I stands for the word Irenic, which means, the tendency to promote and bring about peace and reconciliation. We thought it be difficult to say irenic anthem so we shortened it to I, ha ha. You are welcome! And Anthem is a song or proclamation. We believe in a unity and peace beyond this world… as individuals our hope and peace rest in Christ. Regardless of what you believe or profess, we should all be able to agree that this life is bigger than us.”
The standout track wasn’t an easy decision. Each song had something that made it stick out from the rest. So I’ll break down my top three… in no particular order. The song with the best overall vibe was “We The Symphony”. The song with the best overall groove was “The Fastlane”. And the song with the best overall presence was the melancholy ballad “Our Father’s Work”. No mincing words in that one to be sure.
Overall: It’s tough to go wrong with I Anthem’s 6-song EP “The Things Our Eyes Can’t See”. Great music, stellar message, all from a band that’s not ashamed to wear their heart on their sleeves and live their faith. I look forward to seeing more out of these guys. A whole lot more.