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The Skies Pale In Comparison
Artist: Wilderness of Tekoa
Label: Northern Records
Length: 12 tracks / 48:06

It’s a gusty boast to include “comparisons to U2” in a band’s press material; however, Wilderness of Tekoa—especially vocalist Nic DiPace—rise to meet the expectations dredged up by such a claim. During the band’s opening track, “Elevate,” off their Northern Records release, The Skies Pale In Comparison, DiPace reaches high and grasps quite firmly Bono’s _Boy_-era tenor coattails.

But Wilderness of Tekoa is no U2 wannabe band. The music that follows track one finds the band excelling at complex arrangements, emo textures and effective pop hooks. “Everything feels like poetry when you want it to,” DiPace sings out in “Poetry.” Indeed, Skies feels like poetry throughout—the arms-outstretched anthem “Spiders,” the tender piano confessions of “Your Place In the Ground,” the head-bobbing drive of “Love & Hate.”

With echoing guitars, riding-the-thermals vocals, and exciting arrangements, Wilderness of Tekoa create melodic, passionate and exciting alternative rock. This one’s a keeper!

RIYL: U2, Maxeen, recent Kevin Max, Coldplay, Anberlin

Greg Adams

The Skies Pale In Comparison opens with slashing guitar riffs announcing Nic DiPace’s gritty vocals on the tune “Elevate”. Interestingly enough Wilderness of Tekoa’s opening track is reminiscent of Kevin Max’s the imposter CD crossed with early U2. I raise the point because both Max and Wilderness of Tekoa share the same label Northern Records. 
Generally speaking I like this band’s approach to their guitar driven missives such as “Poetry” and “One At A Time.” The album is filled with dark, moody and cynical themes such as “Spiders” and “Midnight Love.” The songs speak in abstract terms about being ensnared by what songwriters DiPace and Scott obviously view as an evil world with few redeeming attributes. 
DiPace the primary songwriter is strong and mixes his metaphors well but with this effort his themes are simply too polarized. Musically the band is good and demonstrates a lot of creativity.
That was the good part of the listening experience. What is missing from DiPace and Scott’s abstract journeys is any sense of hope. Even aside from the hope that we have in Christ there isn’t even a shred of even an egalitarian or humanitarian premise audible. To use a very tired cliché it’s like preaching ‘fire and brimstone’ without extending grace. If I had a teenager I am not sure I would want my son or daughter listening to such a hopeless musical odyssey. 
The second element missing from this CD is texture and production quality. It is the ability to continually peel back the layers of music that make artists such as Skillet and Kevin Max not simply good but great. Clearly the responsibility lies with the label, producer and sound engineer. It is very evident that gravelly voiced DiPace has great pipes for this type of rock and Ryan Antolino (guitar), Lonnie Lawson (bassist/vocals) and Sean Scott laying down the beats with the sticks, are good musicians. The production team’s faux pas leave us wondering if they are great musicians. I guess we will have to wait until the next CD to find out.

By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved

Joe Montague is an internationally published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18. All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague. 


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