I think the Supertones may be gunning for the record for the greatest amount of turnover of any band in Christian music. * Of the seven originals I believe only two are left. Several replacements have also come and gone. However, with singer/songwriter Mojo (Matt Morginsky) still firmly at the helm, their sound and general feel has not changed a whole lot. Their newest album, Revenge of the Supertones, (released June 15, 2004) reaches into the band’s past. With a sound reminiscent of their sophmore release Supertones Strike Back (minus the ska), the band continues to do what they do best…play loud, catchy music.
With the demise of the blessedly brief ska fad, Supertones have had to reinvent themselves. The process has been on-going since Loud and Clear. With their newest album they have returned to their music roots, crafting a sound like we heard several albums ago, but without the ska. They still have a bit of the ska guitar rythym on some of their songs and continue to feature plenty of horns, but they are definitely no longer ska. We could probably best group them in the rock or alternative catch-all categories.
If you know anything about Matt Morginsky you’ll know that he is an avid reader whose journey through the giants of the faith has led him to the Reformed faith. His theology shines through on songs like Where I Find You, one of the best tracks on the album:
Well I messed up
I feel like I can’t even lift my eyes up
I’m covered in the stain
I’m ashamed of the way I take advantage of your love
And I’m terrified to stand before your throne
With blood on my hands
I realize it’s only by your blood that I can
I’m confessing I’m up to my ears in transgression
Is this the way I thank you for a blessing
I know it’s hard to tell but I am trying
So here I am with nothing to say for myself
Once again I plead the blood and nothing else
Everything’s Broken is another strong offering that speaks about how we are all affected by Adam’s sin and looks forward to the return of the Second Adam. The band prides itself on expressing their faith loud and clear through their music and this album is no exception. There are no “Jesus is my girlfriend” songs on this album as they boldly proclaim their faith. Other stand-out songs are Wake Me Up On Time and The Kingdom. I was actually quite disappointed with We Shall Overcome, the song that is going to be first to hit the radio waves. It has a weak chorus that is far too repetitive for my liking!
Unfortunately about half of the songs of the album are a bit drab - no upbeat enough to get past weak choruses and cliched topics.
The liner notes and general look of the album get a big thumbs down. The album looks like a high school design project and much of the type is almost illegible. However, one redeeming factor is that the band includes a small explanation of each song - a welcome addition that explains the meaning of and inspiration behind the songs.
Despite a few negatives, I give this album a hesitant recommendation. It seems to continue the evolution of one of Christian music’s most popular bands, but I’m not sure if perhaps it actually begins the bands devolution. I look forward to continuing to see if the band can grow or if they really are into a downward spiral.
* I believe Petra holds the record for the greatest amount of personnel turnover. I do not have an accurate count, but it must be well over 20. Whiteheart probably places a close second.