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Live at Baker Street 
Artist: Compliments of Gus 
Label: Humber Records  
Length: 15 tracks / 71:27 minutes
If recorded well, "live" albums can be a great way for an artist or a band to showcase their choicest songs – kind of like a "greatest hits" package with a few newies thrown in.  Live at Baker Street is such an album.  Compliments of Gus were recorded performing at Melbourne’s Baker Street Studios on Saturday 29th November 2003.
Compliments of Gus (hereafter referred to as ‘CoG’) are long-stayers in the Australian Christian music scene.  They started out as a 3-piece band in 1997 and are based in Melbourne, Australia.  They are: Justin Michael (vocals, electric & acoustic guitars)[Justin’s released his own mini-album in 2002/2003 entitled Work of Art ], Jared Haschek (keyboard, piano, acoustic guitar, vocals), Rebecca Haschek (electric & acoustic bass, vocals), and Matthew Young (drums, vocals).  They perform an eclectic style of music which they once described in an interview as Australian-flavoured ‘acoustic-funk-pop-rock’.  All band members display great musicianship.  Lead singer, Justin Michael, reminds me a little of Soulframe’s lead vocalist ("Mutto"); i.e. both have strong, rich, and clear vocals.  Jared Haschek’s keyboard work showcases great variation and improvisation.
Without having heard the three previous Compliments of Gus albums in their entirety (I’ve only heard selected tracks on the radio and on the excellent ‘Down Under’ compilations ), I’d hesitate to say that this is CoG’s best album to date as it captures what they do best – i.e. perform ‘live’.  The CD also captures the excellent rapport they have with their audience.  I’ve also seen and heard the band perform at the Australian Gospel Music Festival – Australia’s biggest annual Christian music event .
The band has a penchant for writing great songs that are simultaneously rock and worship songs.  (Check out "Maker of the Stars" [a worship song to the Creator] & "Ever I Will Praise You" which incorporates a verse from the hymn "Amazing Grace" in it.)  "Greatest Gift" is a Christmas song with a great message that contrasts the temporality of material gifts with the permanence of God’s Gift – the Christchild.  Justin Michael sings in the chorus: - ‘"od’s love is the greatest gift I’ve known."  "Angels" is a great Easter song. "We’re Still Counting" is their cover of Australian singer-songwriter & acoustic guitarist Claire Hazzard.  Other standout songs include: - "Heaven Knows," "Transparent," & "La De Da."
CoG are a band that enjoys having fun.  Live at Baker Street captures the ‘fun’ element in their music as well as their musical proficiency and heart to minister.  The CD is well-packaged (with a foldout pic of the band in the studio) and includes a written recommendation by Australian music journalist/promoter Wes Jay.

Frank Rasenberger     December 2005



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