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FOLLOW THE NARROW (2000)
Follow the Narrow - Click to view!Acoustic music is a world of its own, where the artists are not looking for the acceptance of the pop world at large, but just to express themselves in a vulnerable, clear way. Clear bring their acoustic style and honest lyrics straight from Minnesota to your CD player.

The title track opens the disc with the main message of Follow the Narrow: new life in Christ. It opens with the quiet plucking of the guitar, then jumps into the common drum-influenced, fast-picking melodies. Lead singer Alison Ogren creates heavenly melody, while the background vocals from the guys in the band fill the sound out. Starting with the clang of the tambourine and the quiet percussion, "Falling Down" is not a rock anthem like steve's, but instead a song of submission unto Christ.

Matt Berry joins Alison in the foreground with "Into Your Hands," a song of submission and redemption. Tennyson's poem "The Window" gives the inspiration for "Flash," an exaltation in the light of Christ. The song features a lilting verse and a chorus that dramatically clashes which really gives the view of light suddenly streaming in.

Undoubtedly the anthem on this album, "Stand and Die" tells the story of martyrs such as the Biblical Stephen and Columbine's Cassie Bernall. The watershed chorus ponders "I'm in the wake of martyrs gone before me / Waiting to be tried / Is the strength and trust I have in You / Enough that I would stand and die?" Although it is not easy to be a martyr, the members of Clear are ready to stand up and give their whole life for Christ.

"Travelers" bridges the gap between songs with a minute-long instrumental experimentation. The Psalmist's thanks to God is the inspiration for "Psalm 18", subtitled "Wide Open Spaces". The magnificence of nature shows God's love for us, and brings the songwriter into worship at the end of the track. "Life of Heaven" exalts in the redeemed life, with the quirky-sounding bridge reminding the listener that this new life can only be attained through Christ's guidance.

Worship to the Father is the gist of "Blessed are You," a beautiful track that mirrors the beatitudes and includes a full-choir a cappella sound in it's closing. Through all the troubles and trials that we face, Clear proclaims that God will not condemn, but is "Able and Willing" to forgive. Featuring some skillful guitar during the chorus, "Angels Sing" tells how the heavens praise the Father, and how we should join into the praise.

A fitting close to the disc, "End of the Day" tells of the redemption that will come at Christ's coming, with distorted background vocals, guitars, and triumphant percussion. Presenting the basic Gospel and struggling with many aspects of our life, Clear urge us to share in their joy, pain, and ultimate redemption.
- Dan Ficker
March 2002
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