Two songs into Nate Currin's debut album, Goodnight California,
there was such a resemblance in both sound and song construction to
Lifehouse that was so overwhelmingly strong, I felt like I
was listening to Lifehouse-Lite. To my ear, it's an obvious attempt
at that band's spiritually uplifting anthems, with Currin's urgent,
breathy vocals in the verse, rising up in pitch and intensity in the
chorus. Yet it sounds contrived. The softer "Lucid Dream"
fares no better, and does nothing to shake that comparison. Unfortunately
though, while he has the sound, he just doesn't have the lyrical potency
to pull it off.
"Yellow Springs" is a pretty song, but if you're not enamored
with Currin's hushed delivery and the shimmery, chiming quality of
the music, many of the songs have a "sameness" to them.
"Gypsy Girl" jumps out ahead of the pack with its part pop,
part rap sensibility and curious lyrics ("With the roll of the
highway, beat of the drums/chaos in the laughter as the night rolls
on/tattoos, nose rings, steal the show /like Passion Pit on the radio").
This track no doubt benefited from the influence of hip-hop and R&B
producer Simon Illa, who co-produced the album along with Dan
Hannon (Manchester Orchestra), and it does show the band
in a different light.
"Coming Home" is a change of pace as well - a quiet ballad
with piano and orchestral strings, and smooth production values that
might make it suitable for soft rock radio. About 2/3 into the album,
songs of dancing lovers, summer romance, and love lost give way to
a more purposeful message. Currin's conviction is obviousin songs
like "City Of Grey", with lines like "but oh God, we're
such a mess, we've traded your words for selfishness, as the world
fades away in the city of grey". In "The Confessional"
- the strongest song in terms of storytelling prowess and I suspect
closest to the band's true soul - he speaks of being "jaded and
sixteen with bibles in hand" while they "prayed that Jesus
would forgive our sins." This one song impressed me with its
philosophical depth; too bad there weren't more like this. So, this
is a Christian pop band, singing of faith, shame, and the search for
salvation. Fine by me. Especially with poetic lines like "but
all our emotion, like heavenly potion, had faded with contemptuous
youth/But my introspection, like an eternal felon, locked up in confessional
All in all, I would have given this a "fair to middling"
with a few tracks that glimmer with future promise. Except that one
song, "Secrets", stopped me cold:
deep inside we all despise our secrets/girls with girls
and preachers with no shame/we're holding out for something to hold
on to/or someone to blame."
"Preachers with no shame" - I'm all on board with that,
but "girls with girls"? Whoa, hang on; are they going where
I think they're going? Yikes. This is the reason why I can't get behind
a lot of rap music - lyrics that are misogynist and sexist. Same goes
for homophobia. Game over. Good luck, guys. I hope you find your salvation.
Check out more
Like this article?
e-mail it to