Local Reviews: Joel Brown

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Joel Brown
In Retrospect
Spy Hop Records
Street: 05.10
Joel Brown = Donovan + James Taylor + Derek Webb
It’s not my place to complain about or bash on religious music. If you enjoy a good gospel number or a rock anthem about heaven, so be it. However, much like the dreaded Parental Advisory label, Christian albums should come with a sticker shaped like a cross so you know what it is. In Retrospect looks and sounds like an indie-folk record, but delving into the lyrics is like reading modern hymns. Nearly every song has a reference to God, and those that don’t are laced with faith. Like the song “Ghosts” with the lyrics “Saving souls from limbo holes,” or “Pioneers and Pilgrims,” which talks about a wasteland walk to get to Zion. That’s not to say the album is terrible. The music is top notch for a freshman release, accompanied with Brown’s comforting vocals. But if you’re not into God in a big way, the subtle preachings will make you cringe.