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Abel - The Honest Love EP Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 7.75
Production 8.25
Creativity 8.25
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 83%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.75
Musicianship 9.13
Lyrics 8.75
Production 8.5
Creativity 8.88
Lasting Value 9
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Average: 89%
Inside AP.net

Abel - The Honest Love EP

Reviewed by: Gregory Robson (11/20/09)
Abel - The Honest Love EP
Record Label: Dreamt Records/Facedown Records
Release Date: Sept. 1, 2009

The Poughkeepsie, New York trio Abel have penned arguably one of the most promising five-song EPs released in the last couple years. The only problem is the group writes worship-like anthems aimed at a Christian audience.

Take for starters, album closer "The World Sings," in which vocalist Kevin Kniefel sings, "We are cowards, afraid to speak the name of God. And we have murdered with dirty hands. Are simple men unworthy of our crowns? Though I'm trying, I'm not like Christ at all. I'm not like Christ at all." It's a candid reflection and a viewpoint many can relate to, but does it have to be so narrow in its focus? Certainly if the song is written as a prayer, its structure can be left alone, but aside from MercyMe's "I Can Only Imagine," there haven't been many, if any, praise-based songs that have made it to mainstream radio.

When the band doesn't write songs tailor-made for a tabernacle, there's actually some pretty good poetic terrain at work. Take for example opening track "Dressed Like a King," which spins the following assessment, "There's a call to arms, you're a coward at heart, and it shows all around. There's a battle at hand, you're dressed like a king, but gold weighs you down. So throw off your burden and be saved."

Similarly, "Song of Simon," describes Jesus' crucifixion while the title track sings of both the cross and the true love of God. While writing worship-style verses aren't exactly a bad thing it does make it hard for the band to not be pigeonholed, scrutinized or taken as commercially viable. And that very problem is why listening to The Honest Love is so disappointing.

From start to finish, the entire effort is arresting. Fueled by the emotive croon of Kniefel, driving guitars and one of the most promising rhythm sections in all of indie rock, Abel never disappoints. Each of the five songs features layers of shimmering guitarwork, plaintive keys, soaring choruses and airy breakdowns. Equal parts ethereal, hypnotic and consuming, The Honest Love is a calculated and contrite collection that drips with sincerity, passion and precision.

And yet for all its many peaks, the pivotal question remains, will an agnostic find resonance and substance in a work such as this? Can the music alone rise above the spiritual subject matter? Without an answer to any of those questions, Abel might just be another band with an awe-inspiring album rocking out in church basements. Haven't we heard this story before?


Track Listing 1. Dressed Like a King
2. Song of Simon
3. The Honest Love
4. My Melody
5. The World Sings



Recommended If You Like Coldplay, Cool Hand Luke, Sleeping At Last



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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 28.
07:03 AM on 11/20/09
#2
Garett Press
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Abel is good
07:13 AM on 11/20/09
#3
ryanhorizons
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"The only problem is the group writes worship-like anthems aimed at a Christian audience." yah im pretty sure you're gonna get your ass kicked for putting that in there.
07:21 AM on 11/20/09
#4
awakeohsleeper
We never met, you and I
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Interesting review.
07:23 AM on 11/20/09
#5
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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"The only problem is the group writes worship-like anthems aimed at a Christian audience." yah im pretty sure you're gonna get your ass kicked for putting that in there.
That wouldn't be a very Christian response. Hard to hide from facts. This is very worship heavy and they can't deny that. And hey, if I get my ass kicked for that, then there's something fundamentally wrong with the first amendment.
07:33 AM on 11/20/09
#6
xsinkshipsx
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That wouldn't be a very Christian response. Hard to hide from facts. This is very worship heavy and they can't deny that. And hey, if I get my ass kicked for that, then there's something fundamentally wrong with the first amendment.
kevin is my friend and I do agree with you...but knowing him, he don't care as much about "making it" as he does just worshiping

it is a great EP though and they do deserve recognition
07:41 AM on 11/20/09
#7
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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kevin is my friend and I do agree with you...but knowing him, he don't care as much about "making it" as he does just worshiping

it is a great EP though and they do deserve recognition
I appreciate your response and you bring up exactly what I was trying to get at. My point is basically that this music is solid enough to be commercially viable. But my hunch was that the band was more interested in writing songs to praise God. Which brings up the question, will agnostics and non-believers find resonance in this? I'm skeptical.

That being said, I'm a fan of Christian music and I don't mind worship music, so this to me is just fine. It's the others I'm worried about. In the end, I hope they can rise to the ranks of something like David Crowder Band or Leeland and truly make a splash in the Christian scene. Lord knows they deserve it. This EP is stellar.
08:34 AM on 11/20/09
#8
robdobi
hates your guts.
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i think some of the music is great but this is super worship heavy and i can't stomach it. i wouldn't be able to stomach it if they were singing about pizza and i LOVE pizza.
08:46 AM on 11/20/09
#9
brokenwings
Tear the scene down, start over.
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it's a shame when good bands end up being only marketable to a christian audience. and probably never leave that scene.
i seriously think bands should be 100% honest with their lyrics and just write about the stuff they believe in, but with lyrics like these you're automatically limiting yourself to a specific audience, which is kinda sad
09:55 AM on 11/20/09
only the clouds
throw your body on the bad times
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I saw these guys opening for Moving Mountains. I'm 100% agnostic and I love their live show and this EP. Hopefully I'm the standard rather than the exception.
10:52 AM on 11/20/09
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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I saw these guys opening for Moving Mountains. I'm 100% agnostic and I love their live show and this EP. Hopefully I'm the standard rather than the exception.
I hope so too!
11:09 AM on 11/20/09
x13looDx
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I really hate it when a good band is, I don't want to say ruined, but I donno.. When I'm listening to something and digging the sound, then a lyric all about god or jesus comes up, it turns me off. You can have your faith, but I probably won't like the music you make about it.
02:57 PM on 11/20/09
xJesusFreakx
duh please
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I appreciate your response and you bring up exactly what I was trying to get at. My point is basically that this music is solid enough to be commercially viable. But my hunch was that the band was more interested in writing songs to praise God. Which brings up the question, will agnostics and non-believers find resonance in this? I'm skeptical.

That being said, I'm a fan of Christian music and I don't mind worship music, so this to me is just fine. It's the others I'm worried about. In the end, I hope they can rise to the ranks of something like David Crowder Band or Leeland and truly make a splash in the Christian scene. Lord knows they deserve it. This EP is stellar.

Your review's only complaint was the potentially alienating praise lyrics, which something I'd personally like, and you just mentioned Crowder. I guess it's about time I check this EP out. I've been meaning to for a while but never got around to it.
04:33 PM on 11/20/09
loj
i'm not there and you're not here.
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That being said, I'm a fan of Christian music and I don't mind worship music, so this to me is just fine. It's the others I'm worried about. In the end, I hope they can rise to the ranks of something like David Crowder Band or Leeland and truly make a splash in the Christian scene. Lord knows they deserve it. This EP is stellar.

spot on how i feel.

that being said, DCB rules.
06:02 PM on 11/20/09
more heart
Midtown Saves
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Good to see these guys get a great score. My hometown sure is pouring out some great bands lately.
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