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IN MOTION (2003)
In Motion - Click to view!Unless you live in the East Texas area, you've most likely never heard of ThirtyThree7 before now. ThirtyThree7 is composed of Adam Manning (bass), Samuel Holder (guitar), and David Knuckles (lead vocals, guitar), three guys totally sold on bringing the Gospel to the masses through their music. Slowly but surely, they're accomplishing this mission, leading worship at church services, Hot Hearts, and Disciple Now events across the state. Their independent debut, In Motion, serves as another step in the right direction, but like any band starting out, they have a balanced mix of strengths and weaknesses.

Most of the problems with In Motion stem from production issues rather than the band's performance. Naturally, there's no way a band's first independent release can feature top-notch production, so the problems here are understandable, although they seriously detract from ThirtyThree7's talent. The only area on the disc where they overcome these issues is on "Don't Go," an energetic plea for God's presence to remain with them at all times. Manning and Holder follow through with superb sessions on the bass and guitar, respectively, but the production quality causes Manning's bass to sound muzzled. Thankfully, "Task" gives him an opportunity to shine, and Holder as well, as he burns through an incredible electric guitar solo. "No One Knows," is well-balanced all around in instrumental quality, but quality takes a backseat during the disc's opener, "Whisper," where the band sits back and lets David Knuckles's voice take the forefront. Thus begins my main gripe about In Motion: Knuckles's vocals sound completely uninspired and emotionless. His performance in each track sounds as if he's singing straight from a cue card, and the areas where he tries to stretch—most notably during "One Step"—are unconvincing. Unfortunately, it's a gripe I can't attribute to production issues. Knuckles does play a mean lead guitar, however, as several of his riffs in "Whisper" and "Task" prove. Lyrically, however, the message behind most tracks is nothing new—we continue to hear the "God is very big and cool" scheme throughout the entire album. As I said earlier, it's a delicate balance.

If you manage to get past the weak vocals and lack of originality, the remainder of In Motion can be enjoyable. Should you get a chance to see these guys in concert, however, don't pass it up, as the recording's lackluster production masks a lot of the band's potential. Looking presently at ThirtyThree7, it appears God has already blessed them tremendously in their ministry. As long as they keep using their God-given talents to serve Him, it appears they'll be around for quite some time.
- Rick Foux
January 2004
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