|The Poets Are Back At It | Posted October 14, 2012
Since bursting onto the Christian music scene in 1997, Smalltown Poets has been making upbeat, thought-provoking music. After taking a hiatus since 2006, the band is back and has released a new EP, entitled Under The New Sun. Old and new fans alike will be happy to hear these creative musicians are making music once again.
The title track, "Under The New Sun," starts off the album with quiet electronic strings, piano plunks, and rhythmic drum beats. As a purely instrumental track, it serves as an intro to the rest of the album, preparing listeners for what's to come.
"Turn Around" contains the signature pop/rock sound of Smalltown Poets as their upbeat, smooth vocals and light guitars, drums, and hand clapping continue throughout the track. Very reminiscent of Jars of Clay and Caedmon's Call--not only in sound, but also in symbolic, occasionally vague lyrics--listeners are left to determine their own meaning of several songs.
With a new take on hymn favorite, "Jesus, I Come," lead singer Michael Johnston's clear tenor voice adds a haunting, yet sweet twist. With piano and guitar strums, Johnston's voice echoes as he sings the familiar chorus, "Out of my bondage / Sorrow and night / Jesus I come, Jesus I come / Into that freedom / Gladness and light / Jesus I come to thee." Though many of us have sung this song a million times, by adding their own musical stylings, Smalltown Poets makes this familiar tune more thought-provoking and contemplative.
The band takes a similar approach to "I'll Fly Away," taking a well-known congregation favorite and making it their own. With strumming guitars, drums, and a slightly bluegrass feel, the song takes on a softer tone. While still containing the hopefulness and celebration of the lyrics, Smalltown Poets adds their own unique spin.
Fans will be glad to know Smalltown Poets is back at it. With lead singer Michael Johnston's unique tenor vocals and a sweet, pop/rock sound, Under the New Sun gives listeners a great taste of what they've been missing and leaves them looking forward to what's coming next from the band. If you're looking for something different than what's currently being played on most Christian contemporary radio stations these days, I recommend giving this project a listen.
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