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LONG LINE OF LEAVERS (2000)
Long Line of Leavers - Click to view! The theory of evolution is true, in one sense at least. Houston, Texas based band Caedmon's Call has undergone a few changes since their last release, 40 Acres. Now with two new members, the band is slowly making its move onto the pop scene without entirely abandoning its folk roots. The results shine through in Long Line of Leavers, their third studio release thus far.

Holding nothing back, the album opens with "The Only One," adorned with peppy trumpets, synthesizers, and a pipe organ. Like Jars of Clay did with If I Left the Zoo, this new Caedmon's Call will make some uneasy--before track two, that is, where their original sound returns enforce on "Love Is Different," a take on affections and relationships. The trumpets and organs seem to have become banjos and accordions, but the profound lyrics remain the same. "Prepare Ye The Way," originally written/recorded by John Michael Talbot, follows in the same manner. It compares a relationship with Christ to a wedding, a perfect metaphor of what our Christian walk should be like. The next song, "Prove Me Wrong," tells Elijah's story of going up against Baal and the idolaters of Israel in a sing-song, pop style, similar to something you'd expect on an Out of the Grey album. Electric guitar strengthens "Mistake of My Life," a tragic love story of a youth who just can't seem to make the right decisions. Needing at least one of her solos as all their project do, Long Line of Leavers includes Danielle Young voicing the soothing, slow "Masquerade." Written by Ed Cash (one of many album producers), the song is dominated by string instruments without any percussion at all, adding to its peaceful feeling.

"What You Want," track #7, is indeed drastic evidence on how far Caedmon's Call has come, decked out in rock fashion and complete with Derek Webb screaming. It's a treat for those who were anticipating something much harder on the disc, but almost immediately the band drops back to folk status, unveiling "Valleys Fill First." The insightful lyrics discuss being in a spiritual slump, but contain a poignant reminder that God always provides for us when we're "down in the valley." From this point on, Long Line of Leavers settles into a comfortable, laid-back mood, with songs like "Can't Lose You" and "Love Alone" keeping the sound familiar to long-time Caedmon's fans. Track #11, "Dance," is an uplifting melody that you could indeed dance to, but its title refers to the waltz we as Christians will someday make to Heaven (and eternally in Heaven). "Piece of Glass," keeping with the band's trademark sound, explains how disappointment with self can be a blind alley, unless you take pride in the person God created you as. Finally, "Ballad of San Francisco" closes the album in a flamboyant, exorbitant manner. The almost country-sounding track, reminiscent of "Bus Driver," skips along joyfully and brings along an entourage of harmonicas, accordions, upright bass and even whistling, as if saying to fans, "We haven't changed that much."

The differences of this project with previous ones stick out like a sore thumb when compared to their popular 40 Acres effort, but most listeners will be pleased. The new style does take a little getting used to, but it's never monotonous, as every song grows on you after a few minutes of listening. Long Line of Leavers will be looked at as the turning point for the band.
- Rick Foux
November 2001
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