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REVOLUTION (2001)
Revolution - Click to view! With a title like Revolution, one expects John DeGrazio to borrow from the rap beats of Kirk Franklin or the intense foreign flair of DeGrazio's former group, Burlap to Cashmere. Yet rather than flashy, militant ideas, this Nashville insider testifies to a different kind of "mutiny," a gradual growth toward God and away from the world. Like most who strike out to be independent, his artistry tend to be rough, stripped-down acoustic, as if fulfilling some universal revenge against slick-sounding radio pop. John's worldview gets a grand unveiling in the opener "Seems So Wrong," subversive of the finger-pointing, predictable mainstream (both Christian and otherwise). Examining the call of Christ with unimagined clarity, "A Deeper Sense" uses tricky vocal mixing to glorify spiritual evolution and man's need for God. DeGrazio's ASCAP Award-winning (2001) songwriting brings uniqueness to the praise chorus "I'll Be Yours," including the lines, "This spell You cast is still upon me... how can I live forever if You're not here with me?" While every Revolution track has a certain drama, track four makes a breathless, bold move by spotlighting piano after only mixing in acoustic guitar for the record's first 11 minutes (lyrically, it speaks to a departed friend as DeGrazio's "Wish I Could Have You"). Left defenseless by the world's self-focused drive, the singer voices truths about relationships and pressures, saying he'll never be "Somebody Other than Me." "Everywhere You Go," a driven progression of sound and thought, observes that we are surrounded by negativity; the next track "Destroy" answers the previous rant with themes of remaining beauty and "the love before our eyes." Getting backup help from B2C guitarist John Philippidis, John DeGrazio (who also wears the hat of producer on Revolution) builds a convincing soundscape in "Turning Around," a collection of ideas concerning surrender and renewal. Strikingly complex for a first radio single, "Until You Answer," finds that believers regret their seclusion from the world, though not the hopelessness all around them--a paradox solved only by communion with Christ. The John DeGrazio style of chatty lyrics and hard guitar strumming wanders onto a "Desert Road" plenty with drought and cynicism. An eleventh and final cut, "Sooner or Later" realizes that truth needs to be embraced daily because of our thoughtless, broken condition. Ever admitting the scars and shortcomings, Revolution is a few levels above most contemporary Christian fare--a pleasing acoustic mix directing a revolt of spirit over flesh.
- Josh M. Shepherd
June 2001
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