The Wedding - Polarity
Record Label: Brave New World Records
Producer: Mark Lee Townsend
Release Date: April 17, 2007
Name one thing you know that has come from Arkansas. Go ahead...I can wait.
Chances are, the only thing that comes to mind right away (if anything) is former President Bill Clinton, correct? Well, next time this question comes up, it will likely be one you can answer with more than one answer. That's because, with their sophomore full-length disc, Fayetteville, AK's own The Wedding have struck up a killer selection of 14 blistering tracks filled with the power of rock (to paraphrase JB from Tenacious D).
Polarity, the band's second effort after 2005's self-titled album, compiles what makes pop-punk, rock and hardcore so sweet and smashes them into one solid compound of genuine kick-ass fervor. It's enough to make you want to grow a beard and scream at the top of your lungs on a rooftop. And it very well might make you do so, as it arrives right as the weather turns to summer, when all you want to do is cruise the streets, swim the pools and party throughout the nighttime hours.
The Wedding - consisting of four young guys, Kevin Kiehn, Clint Robinson, Trevor Sarver and Cody Driggers - turn their amps to 11 (for a majority of the time) and turn their focus to rocking faces off. Vocalist Kevin Kiehn has a great range, going from soft falsetto to rock singer to hardcore growl in one fell swoop. Backed by a terrific rhythm section, the band takes a sound Thousand Foot Krutch and Relient K have made famous and makes it their own.
Opening with "The Call," a 47-second horn intro, the disc jams right into "Say Your Prayers," an obvious allusion to Christ and a seat burning rock anthem. "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" is the album's best song, beginning with a backwards bagpipe recording before firing off a round of adrenaline. Moving into the bombastic, heavy rush of "Staring At The Light," the Wedding shows how it can get the mosh pit started by continuing to pile up the dynamite riffs and exploding drums.
The more radio-friendly pop-rock of "This One's For You" comes up next, with "I-540" following. The latter sounds very much like (again) Relient K, backed by piano and being the first of two ballads on the album. It's not a bad song, but it definitely halts the mood started up, killing the buzz rather quickly. The band does recover from the slow pace by shifting into the solid heavy-hitter, "It's Time To Rock (Ok?)," which sums up its purpose in the title. Driven by loud growls and punishing guitars, Kiehn shouts in the chorus, "They bring 'em in on stretchers and / They leave here, walkin' out / That's what my God's about." Oddly enough, it's the disc's most direct reference to religion (using the famous cliche about miracles), and while the band has stated faith is important to them, much like band's previously mentioned, they do not often sing about it outright. Like their fellow faithful rockers, Relient K, they do not feel it necessary to alienate any fans, and steer clear of direct religious praise.
After they blow the lid off the house, the album gets into more meaty rock territory with songs like "Rebound" and "Schizophrenia". While the end of the album is a tad weaker, the whole product is greater than its parts. The gang vocal-heavy anthem, "The Last Stand" is easily one of the album's better moments, while "Misery Loves Company" displays more pop-rock sensibilities. "Southside" (no, it's not a cover of the Moby/Gwen Stefani song) is simple, but also a lightning bolt of energy, followed by the much slower "Revelation" (which is almost too slow, considering its almost at the end).
The delicate, mellow summertime jam, "Fireworks," is a breezy, lovely final song, which closes everything on a wonderful note. It's a song about reflection, friendship and love, all completed wonderfully as a curtain call to the record. Producer Mark Lee Townsend has worked with just about every band you can think of that calls themselves Christian, and makes them sound like pure gold, as he does here. The sound is unabashedly raw and pummeling, yet it's slick enough to pull new fans in by the hundreds.
Kiehn's lyrics are usually allusions to religious aspects (such as in "Say Your Prayers") or about finding your true self without letting outside sources talk you into becoming something you don't want to be. Basic territory here, especially for a band that hangs with the crowd like Thousand Foot Krutch (who write similar lyrics). The musician's backing Kiehn up are tight and really lay the groundwork for the disc, matched alongside the incredible vocal personality of Kiehn. All of these blueprints really make the disc shine, despite it's setbacks with the all-too-tender slow songs.
Again, the album as a whole is much better than it's parts, as it can sometimes sound too much like its peers. When this band wants to kick down some doors and blow out some windows, though, there is no doubt they have the ingredients to do so.
Polarity is definitely a crisp, crunchy, rollicking ride through rock and roll, and will be an album you will want to be married to all summer long. Consider this the soundtrack to your own personal 'Summer of BAMF'.
Choice Cuts: "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead," "It's Time To Rock (Ok?)," "The Last Stand" and "Say Your Prayers"
1. The Call
2. Say Your Prayers
3. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
4. Staring At The Light
5. This One's For You
7. It's Time To Rock (Ok?)
10. The Last Stand
11. Misery Loves Company
I liked their first album a bit, but the songs I heard off of this one did not impress me at all. Well-written review though.
I think, for me, both of their albums are on the same level. Both are kickass rock and roll, and like I said, they work better as an entire entity rather than separate songs. It's worth checking out if you dug the first record.