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4008 (2000)
4008 - Click to view!Sometimes it's easy to let the little things of life get in the way of enjoying what our Heavenly Father has blessed us with. When we're drowning in the stresses and worries of everyday life, the best relief comes when we merely step back and take a breath of fresh air. This is the essence of what Polarboy has captured on their second album, 4008. Although little known about in the CHR market, listeners who have discovered this "southern alternative" band know they've latched onto something special. The songs on 4008 are consistent reminders of God's provisions and blessings, and they help to provide an escape from whatever stumbling blocks we may hit.

"Lower," the album's first track, is a classic example of totally relying on God. The protagonist in this song has hit rock bottom, yet fully acknowledges God's reassuring strength that enables him to go on. The truthful lyrics are accompanied by the band's trademark forceful percussion and steady acoustic, as well as electric, guitar riffs. Following in a similar yet more grungy style is "Everytime," a song about God leading you to the love of your life. During the slower, twangy "Night Drives," it's easy to imagine yourself cruising down the highway, windows rolled down, enjoying a peaceful song on the radio as the sun sets in the distance. Ironically, the lyrics actually describe a person who has attempted to run away from God's plan - a modern day Jonah - who in the end, must learn to "simply accept the gift." In contrast the perky, poppy "At Least I Tried" praises God outright for His gift of salvation, and then weaves a tale about a lost brother who comes home and a lost sister who remains a wild card.

Like "Lower," "Nothing Left" is another Better Than Ezra-ish tune about running out of provision and discovering you have "nothing left to bet nothing left to get / to pull me out of this ditch / nothing except my trust in the Lord and my trust in His Word." A brilliant reminder of the fun times in life, "Long Weekend" cuts loose as the closest that the band ever gets to actual rock, even throwing in a funky 70's groove during the bridge, a choir of accompanists on the closing chorus, and handclaps. Then, "Mountain Man" sets the mood diversely to southern folk, adding a banjo to the mix and rivaling even Third Day as it retells the story of Joseph. Track #8 puts the choir back in full swing as Polarboy rips off "I'm Alright" a la Jars of Clay during "In The Name of Christ," but perfectly combines a blend of the gospel/guitar rock genres. The organ in the background makes it believable that you could actually play this song at a Sunday morning church service and get away with it.

Sadly, the last three songs on 4008 are also the most depressing. A string of percussion imitating a locomotive makes the incredibly heart-wrenching "Train Song" all the more believable, but provides a picturesque illustration of what it must have been like for God to sacrifice his Son for the good of the world. Simply put, this song will bring you to tears. Kicking things back up for the last time on the album, Polarboy attempts to make a rocker out of "Fall," a song about separation and coping with the hole left in someone's heart that only God can fill. 4008 closes on a low-key, serious note with "Bria." Strangely enough, the only instrument used on this final track is a piano, accompanying vocals stained with despair, anger, and regret. Ultimately though, all of that is let go, and the pain is left behind for God to ease and replace with His love.

By reminding listeners of the sweet release that comes with accepting Jesus as Savior, Polarboy has established themselves firmly with 4008. The disappointing fact is that this is an album that will be overlooked by most. Not only that, but finding a copy in your local Christian bookstore is a rare delight. The listening experience is definitely worth it.
- Rick Foux
March 2002

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