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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Artist: Because John
After releasing his solo debut Hope last year, John Stanek, has returned with a new band and a new CD, Hidden Tracks. The songs on the CD range from hard rocking to slow ballads and there is even a bit of funk thrown into the mix. The best song on the CD is the ballad "That Song", which features Stanek singing a light and free ballad. It will remind some listeners of some of the lighter fare from Jars of Clay. This is where the CD sounds best, is when Stanek and crew do slower ballads that are low or in the middle of his range. If most of the CD sounded like this, then it would be a wonderful CD but that is not the case. Unfortunately, many of the other songs seem to be out of Stanek's optimal range so his voice is weaker as a result. Some of the more rocking songs, such as the first track "Soul", just don't work well with Stanek's voice. The result of this is that Stanek sounds almost angry and his voice has a sound to it that will turn many listeners away, especially as he works his way up to some of the higher notes in the song.
In a bit of irony, one of the weakest parts of the whole CD is in its hidden tracks. The first hidden track is one minute of silence. The second hidden track features what will remind many listeners of the sounds from a scene from a movie with someone walking up steps, knocking on door and the door opening. The track ends with a young boy saying "Come in John, the show is about to start."
Some of the quirkier songs, mainly "Weird Girl" and "Happy Pills" will also leave the listeners scratching their heads due to their almost bizarre lyrics.
Some may enjoy the quirkier feel of this CD with its mix of rock and ballads and funk, but others may avoid this CD, since it quite simply is not their cup of tea.
Burton Wray September 19, 2004