Music Review: Live At Gray Matters, Vol. 1| Posted March 23, 2010
By Brian Hall
LABEL: PROVIDENT LABEL GROUP
RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 2, 2010
RATING: 3.25 OUT OF 5
Jars of Clay is no stranger to live music; they tour seemingly incessantly and they even released a live album a few years back. Now the guys of Jars of Clay deliver a new collection of live tracks on Live At Grey Matters, Volume 1.
Grey Matters is the name of the record label Jars runs and it is also the name of the studio the label records in. Given that information one could reasonably conclude that JoC recorded this new EP (or set of EP’s rather) in said studio, making this an experientially different record as you have some mild production gloss, but crowd vocals and other potentially objectionable concert noises are absent. Focusing exclusively on tracks from their most recent record The Long Fall Back To Earth; an 80’s inspired pop/rock opus that is easily one of the best Christian albums in recent memory, the guys of JoC waste no time in introducing their listeners to their unique live sound. Don’t Stop opens the collection with its catchy guitar hook and Dan Haseltine’s unmistakable vocals. However the song is also a great example of the main problem I had with the album. The album fails to give any additional character to the songs featured; no dramatic changes in the arrangements, no enhanced focus on specific instruments, just a more echo-y vocal. While other tracks (Safe To Land, Two Hands) get fleshed out a bit more with that aforementioned “character”, it is still lacking from the overall project.
This album is not a total bust; the songs are still enjoyable even if they aren’t too different from their hyper-produced counterparts. I eagerly look forward to future volumes in this series covering Jars of Clay’s prestigious career, but I sadly must insist that if you already own The Long Fall Back To Earth, then pass on Live At Grey Matters, Volume 1.
Review copy sent courtesy of Provident Label Group
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from The Christian Manifesto. Click here to visit TheChristianManifesto.com today!