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UNFAZED (1998)
UnFazed - Click to view! The four guys from Atlanta known have redefined themselves to a more accessible alternative sure to please listeners everywhere. From the opening "o--o-o" of the title track, this Cd promised to be a different experience than the Waiting's other incredible efforts. It proved to be just that. Their sound, which was remotely similar to other bands, really takes a musical road less traveled, mixing the rock steady rhythm of Todd Olsen's electric guitar, killer bass riffs courtesy of Clark Leake and Brandon Thompson's intense drum work for a truly vibrant work in every respect. Frontman Brad Olsen seems to have almost brushed up on the somewhat "nasal tone" of his voice from previous projects, but I'm pleased to say that he has not turned into a Ray Boltz or something--I've always thought the "raw" quality of Brad's voice brought an energy and urgency to The Waiting. On to the album overview. The Unfazed title track uses profound word-pictures to describe the frailty of our lives and the constancy of God's love--much the same way as Track 6 of the disc illustrates the barrier of our pride against the Lord's will and is a cry to "Make it Disappear ~ Everything I built with my hands...kick it over like a castle of sand." An undying theme through of all the Waiting's songs is the overwhelming mercy of God; how He in His majesty can still make something of our messed-up lives. This is all said with such unique poetic intellect that you can miss it if you don't look. The cuts "I Am" and "I Need You" border closely on worship, with that "Look at the facts but believe the promise" view playing broadly on this verse: "Walking out alone ~ The night feels like a stone inside a boot heel ~ Hot and cold winds blow ~ And no one's here to know the way I feel ~ The corner I once knew brings me into view again ~ So I could stay out late, find new bones to break but then ~ I'd be dragging home admitting ~ I am because You are I Am." Brad's songwriting theme brings to light that surrender becomes more real when you realize what's at stake, like in "Too Many Miles" when the line "Break my leg if you must ~ But keep me close to You," illustrating a total necessity for Jesus beyond all else. Lest I miss someone's favorites, "Speak" is a rock anthem reminiscent of The Waiting's self-titled record crying for the Lord's almighty voice, while the alt/pop rhythm of the seventh track pictures Christ's grand universe and then ponders "why do You make So Much of Me?" My personal favorite, though, is the quirky pop-blues song "Give It Up," with it's perspective of "Sitting by the stereo ~ Turning every little question over" eventually yielding to the chorus "0--o, let it go-o ~ Write it off, give it up to You." My only problem with Unfazed is that it's 40 min., 10 track length is too short (the band says they wrote 50 new songs for this release but only recorded 10. why?). And I can't stand not knowing who is playing the keyboard? Minor problems aside, the Waiting has remained unfazed in their commitment to a multidimensional sound and lyrical approach of faith in Christ.
- Josh M. Shepherd
May 1999
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