Jars Of Clay [The Long Fall Back To Earth]
Posted April 15, 2009
Jars of Clay has built an extraordinary career based on the uncompromising integrity of its music, worldview, and humanitarianism. Jars of Clay’s last album, Good Monsters, was my favorite Jars of Clay album since the amazing self-titled debut. That album managed to reinvent the band’s sound while tackling subjects as diverse and demanding as social responsibility, spiritual doubt and the duality of the human heart. Now, three years later, Jars of Clay returns with The Long Fall Back To Earth. The album’s first single, “Two Hands,” builds on the duality theme from “Good Monsters.” Haseltine’s lyrics observe, “I use one hand to pull you closer / The other to push you away,” before going on to suggest that this internal conflict can be overcome with a simple, but profound course of action: “Two hands doing the same thing / Lifted high.” According to Dan Haseltine: “‘Two Hands’ was the last song we wrote for the record. We'd been trying to find a way to try to connect all the various themes of the album--relationships, faith, social justice--with one unifying anthem.”
That desire to connect is the primary theme of The Long Fall Back To Earth and nowhere is it more explicitly stated than in “Closer,” the first song recorded for the record. When Haseltine sings “I’ll drop out of the race for more personal space / ‘Cause the rockets we’re in get so cold, and I miss your skin,” he’s never sounded more direct or personal. One of the last songs written for the record is the instrumental opener “The Long Fall,” which gently introduces the theme of the record before giving way to the marching wake-up call of the song “Weapons.”
This is the most amazing album I’ve heard in the past year and ranks right with Third Day’s Revelation last year. Jars of Clay has managed to channel the best of themselves, almost unanimously agreed to be the self-titled debut album and give fans what they’ve come to expect with anthems like “Weapons,” “Two Hands,” “Safe To Land” and “Heaven,” the stand-out songs for me. However similar to Third Day, they’ve also mixed up their sound and pulled out all of the stops with inventive new electronic songs like the instrumental opener “The Long Fall,” “Closer,” “Don’t Stop,” “Boys (Lesson One)” and the closing song “Heart.” I immediately replayed the songs “Hero” and “Scenic Route,” which are both amazing instrumentally and lyrically.
I’ll be measuring all other albums this year against “The Long Fall To Earth”. Whether you are a long-time fan of Jars of Clay or have recently discovered them, you won’t be disappointed with this album which for me is a 5 star masterpiece.
Rating: 9.7 out of 10 (97%, A+)
Review written by: Kevin Davis | Review can also be found here.
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