|Fishers of Men
Artist: Fishers of Men
Time: 11 tracks/40:38
If you hunger for another Hootie or Third Day-type band, here it is. The intro of "Who to Believe" is almost identical to one of Hootie's radio hits. Otherwise, the music is solid, well-played, southern-tinged rock/alternative with deep-throated, happy-grunge vocals. A few songs get more aggressive and funky than the others. Completely unoriginal, but the youth group kids at Fishers of Men shows apparently love it. The lyrical focus is of course unabashedly evangelistic and full of phrases you can complete before the vocalist does. The song "Matthew 23:28" uses both the term "24-7" and the phrases "it's not religion, it's relationship" and "God's team," which will either cause you to sing along while nodding or visibly wince in pain, depending on your personal experience with Christian subculture. "If Jesus were a Backpack" tries to put a creative spin on the WWJD fad. If you want to book a rock band for your church or youth group, these guys will no doubt put on a dynamic show while being the "safest" band you could ask for. To be sure, the music here is completely competent and enjoyable rock (better than some major label releases), and these guys long to embody their name, but the lack of originality limits the size and strength of their net.
Moderate to high distortion levels and fast guitar licks are the
key to many of the tracks on this CD. "Turn Right," by far
the fastest track of the disc, features a lot of fuzz added to a rapid
guitar and a nicely punchy bass lick. Most of the remainder have an upbeat
tempo and have a more mainstream rock sound. With some leanings to
a harsher rock sound, the four member group executes a surprisingly good
balance of vocals and instrumentation. A couple of tunes also included
pick up a distinctively folk to southern-rock leaning.
Certainly energetic and inspirational, this album appears to have a lot in common with the South Carolina music scene, a la Hootie and the Blowfish or Big Head Todd. With the predominantly acoustic and clean-electric sound often associated with the rock coming from today's southeastern regions quite prevalent on this album, one might at first assume that Fishers of Men is trying to compete in an already-saturated market. However, the Fishers of Men certainly put up a good contest, and a closer listen divulges the fallacies in such an assumption; the band certainly appears to have a particular audience in mind, that being the Christian listener who wants to hear more than just your typical songs about booze and troubles. Instead, this album is very upbeat and particularly "pastoral" at the same time. As an added treat, the band turns up the tempo on "Think About It" and "Turn Right", showing they're capable of more than just slow and steady rock.
While I wasn't too excited to see them take up the controversial topic of evolution in the song "Who to Believe," the album is otherwise a solid effort. Check it out, you might be surprised.
By Corey Welton