Exquisite Whisper  
Artist:  Elysian Skies 
Label:  Baby Angel Records (For more information:  keithg@vmg.com) 
With a little help from their friends, Elysian Skies has created an indie release worthy of notice.  Serving as executive producer, J.J. Plasencio (formerly of  Plumb and Sixpence None the Richer) is a believer in this band. Also, Gene Eugene (of Adam Again) mixes the album, and both Andy Prickett and Wayne Everett (formerly of the Prayer Chain) contribute in one form or another.  That's a lot of positive support from some respected folks in the industry for a virtually unknown band on the national level.   
With Exquisite Whisper Elysian Skies has created an album of modern rock ranging from acoustic guitar-driven ballads to songs with an aggressive swirl-of-sound.  They haven't attempted to recreate modern rock here, and they manage to play well without embarrassing the form.  The production values are excellent--not at all what you'd expect from an indie (with the amazing Gene Eugene on the boards it's easier to see how that happened).  The result is an album with an appealing sound that suggests alternative pop bands like The Waiting (but with fewer frills).     
The lyrics are positively pro-Christian in their content, and without exception they deal with matters of faith in an honest and poetic way.  On "Blood of Innocence" in particular, lyric writer Keith Giles fuses Biblical truth with modern-day trials while turning a good phrase or two along the way:    

    A dishonest man brought me into the fold  
    And an unfaithful girl brought me in from the cold  
    It rains on the unjust and righteous as well  
    The sound of the truth is louder than hell.  
    A forgetful Samaritan passes away  
    His friends and his family have nothing to say.  
    The children of poverty ask for a drink.  
    I'm lost in my thoughts so I don't stop to think. 
This band's love for our Lord Jesus is foremost on their mind as they exhibit compassion for the disenfranchised, downtrodden, or just plain discouraged. Augmenting the songs' themes are a collection of delightful quotes from Henry Van Dyke, St. Francis of Assisi, Pablo Picasso, and Psalm 68.  Extra bonus points are given for the artsy packaging; for example, the CD is black with a gold Half-Moon-Face with three accompanying stars.  I appreciate the artistic attention given to layout details. 
Keith Giles voice is reminiscent of the lead singer from The Beautiful South or The Housemartins at times.  This may just be a matter of personal preference, but I find he sings most pleasingly on the slower tempo numbers, while his gentle voice seems incongruent with the rambunctious music on the more bumptious tracks.  That critique aside, this band will in time undoubtedly carve out their own niche and continue to garner appropriate amounts of attention from musical colleagues as well as fans.   

(Band:  Keith Giles on vocals, John Wahurmund on guitars and bass, John Feighery on guitars, Bill Schmidt on percussion and Ben Busch on keys and  guitars.) 
By Steven Stuart Baldwin 

(Note Baby Angel recording artist Elysian Skies and Gofishnet.com are teaming up to release "Exquisite Whisper." Baby Angel Records is donating 100% of all money received from the sale of the disc to "Feed the Children", an Oklahoma-based charity that feeds and clothes America's needy.)