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  Set It Off
Artist: Thousand Foot Krutch
Label: Tooth & Nail Records
Times: 18 tracks / 73:03 minutes

I never heard the initial 1999 release of Set It Off by Thousand Foot Krutch (TFK). While I'm sorta kicking myself that I didn't experience it the first time around, the success of _Phenomenon,_ the band's second full-length project, gave the band and Tooth & Nail the impetus to re-release Set It Off, alongside the band's first EP, That's What People Do, along with a brand new song, "Everyone Like Me."

First, for those not familiar with Thousand Foot Krutch, it's tough to peg their style. In 1999, groovecore and rapcore were a growing art form, and merging these styles with hip-hop was incredibly rare. That's TFK's department; I like to call the music from _Set It Off_ "hip-hop-core." After listening to familiar radio hits "Rhime Animal" and "Unbelievable," it hit me loud and clear that TFK probably influenced several musicians, including KJ-52 and TobyMac (of the latter, there are two instances of "let's get this party started" within _Set It Off_), and perhaps arguably, T-Bone.

Hmmmm. Are we absolutely sure the old has not passed away and hasn't actually just been polished and put back in full display? In this instance, that's a good thing!

Sticking to the music for the moment, the new song, "Everyone Like Me," is a strong introduction to the set, and the final five songs are from the indie out-of-print release. Thousand Foot Krutch's works are, therefore, presented chronologically--backwards--and it's a nice flow. Along with the aforementioned mentioned radio tunes is "Puppet," and the closer of the original Set It Off set is the only inclusion that moves at a slower pace, "Lift It," an excellent praise and worship tune (remember that P&W wasn't an industry trend in 1999--here's another example of TFK helping lead the pack).

Moving to the lyrics (and again, for those who may not be familiar with the band), every ingredient from the new song throughout the original _Set It Off_ is not only discernible, singable, and crystal clear/transparent regarding songs' meanings. TFK was operating alongside Christian rock contemporaries who were having fun with music and lyrics and mixing them for messages that were (and still are!) positive without being boring. Excellent examples here are the aforementioned radio tunes, plus "When in Doubt" and the title track.

The listener may expect--and should understand--that the only weakness of this project is Thousand Foot Krutch's very first recordings re-presented here. The five songs originally comprising _That's What People Do_ sound like they're from the oldies vaults of early Tooth & Nail. That's okay, since it was certainly a springboard for better things to come. It's unfair to dismiss the EP, but it's also easy to hear late '90s ingredients reminiscent of Hokus Pick, MxPx, the Huntingtons, or Stavesacre (just to name a few). The average listener may be tempted to pop out the CD after "Lift It," but the TFK fan will find the earliest recordings must-listen events.

This re-release of Set It Off is very satisfying and is interesting for its historical view (from now to then) of Thousand Foot Krutch.

Olin Jenkins  3/7/2005


 
 
 
 
 

 

   
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