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O.C. Supertones
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LOUD AND CLEAR (2000)
Loud and Clear - Click to view! The Supertones strike back...again...with Loud and Clear, their fourth album and quite a superb follow up to their previous project, Chase the Sun. With a more Christ-driven message and a greater emphasis on rock, the 'Tones launch a new array of songs based on their own personal spiritual experiences. One thing consistent with the group has always been their sense of humor, and this album is no exception. The jewel case insert is designed like a high school yearbook, adorned with hilarious pics of the band dressed as various high school groups, such as Student Council, the varsity golf team, and the chess club.

When it comes to their music, however, the Supertones aren't joking around. The opening "Escape From Reason" is as serious as it gets, with a wrenching rap-core rhythm that P.O.D. would envy. The lyrics focus on how the church has lost the ability to be relevant to our culture. Toby McKeehan of dc Talk fame takes guest vocals in the next cut, "What It Comes To," a laid-back, reggae melody. "Jury Duty" proves the Supertones' increased ability to rock as the horns are cut to a minimum. The song is based on an actual day in the life of lead vocalist Matt Morginsky and is a strong reminder of how we need to give God thanks even when we walk through life's valleys. "Lift Me Up" combines ska and worship with a simple plea: "Lift me up from my lowly estate. Lift me up where I can see you clothed in majesty and light." Rap masters Gospel Gangstaz appear on track #5, "Return of the Revolution," where Morginsky and the band attempt to explain the history of the church, Martin Luther's movement, and how we need to bring back a revolution with no compromise. Next, the 'Tones weave a hard-hitting, electric-guitar powered tale about how we as Christians need to venture out into the "Wilderness" that is this world. And whose world is it? The obvious answer is given in the following cut, entitled "Father's World." In the following song, to even further the point, the Supertones press how our sinful passions have corrupted God's once perfect world as if someone had re-opened "Pandora's Box." The beat comes hard and heavy with a lot of yelling done on the vocals. "Forward to the Future" is a dim spot on the disc with a tune that seems out of place on this album, but nevertheless it's a poignant reminder of what we as Christians have to look forward to one glorious day. Track #10, "Another Show," is one of the familiar ska tunes, horns and all, that the band is so well known for. The track itself tells of their love of what they do-presenting God's love through music. Straight-up punk rock prevails on "20/20," a challenge for Christians to look back at their lives--after all, hindsight is 20/20--in order to have a clear view of what really matters. Supertones fans will be pleased with the next cut, "Who Could It Be," as the band takes a break from rocking out and returns to their ska roots with a little Bible study on who Jesus really is, the one and only Son of God. Finally, things come to fruition with "Spend It With You," a passionate praise song tuned to ska about spending an eternity with God.

In my opinion, another extraordinary project by an extraordinary Christian ministry. In fact, Loud and Clear might "clearly" be the Supertones' best album yet.
- Rick Foux
November 2000
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