As with Good Monsters, Jars of Clay once again addresses the issue of community, this time focusing more on the realities of being in community, with the resulting tensions and joys in relationships. Co-produced with Ron Aniello (Patti Scialfa, Jeremy Camp, Lifehouse), The Long Fall Back To Earth offers an updated mellow rock sound without abandoning the intelligent pop the band is known for. There's no bubble gum here, and a few of the tracks will definitely rock harder than traditional Jars fare in a live show.
"Weapons" stands out as a rousing call for peace:
Hallelujah, we can finally see / how the bitterness was bruising / on our skin / and we didn't notice that grace had run so thin / 'til we'd fallen apart and the cracks in our hearts / let the truth sink in / lay your weapons down / lay your weapons down / there are no enemies in front of you
The album title derives from the haunting "Safe To Land," a plea for reassurance in a relationship that's struggling. Despite difficulties, hope remains: "We're not going down, even if it gets worse." Frontman Dan Haseltine's lyrics have always been above average since we first heard "Flood" so long ago, and Long Fall lives up to our expectations. "Headphones" addresses the isolation of our society, while "Boys (Lesson One)" is not a primer for girls to learn about boys, but for a son to grow into a man.
The first single, "Two Hands," is a worshipful pop rock tune that almost immediately cracked the Top 5 in Christian radio. There are numerous radio-friendly tunes here, but none of them sound like sell-outs. It will be interesting to see how they're received in the mainstream market.
The band continues to live their message, working to develop wells in African villages lacking clean water with their Blood:Water Mission. Somehow that makes this CD sound even better.
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