SPOKEN – by peter soyer
Bands are generally hit-or-miss across all genres. Throwing the Christian label in usually swings bands into the miss side. It’s hard to win critics who don’t like JC and his 12 homies. Some Christian acts hide biblical references under layers of complex lyrics. Some, however, grow from a unit of friends into a powerful group throwing down the Christian smack like shepherds directing sheep. Spoken is one of those bands. Spoken started in 1996 as a rapcore act and won fans through their hardcore roots and relentless tours. They’ve been compared to Finch, Anberlin, The Used and POD. Their first releases were focused on screaming rapcore, but with every new release they ventured further and further out. Their newest, “A Moment of Imperfect Clarity” is completely void of rapcore stylings. Instead, it’s filled with an emo-charged heavy rock that is contemporary enough to find new fans, but close enough to their previous sound for old fans. This new album also has some background help from producer GGGarth. After producing records for the likes of Chevelle and Rage Against the Machine, GGGarth helped Spoken push their sound in a new direction. They came out stronger and cleaner than any of their records from Metro One. Not to say that Metro One treated them bad, it was just time for some new blood. That new blood came from the Tooth and Nail family and GGGarth. The bricks in Spoken’s wall of sound consist of catchy guitar riffs, passionate vocals, tight drums and lyrics that don’t preach. Rapcore is definitely their corner stone, but is missing on “A Moment of Imperfect Clarity”. These guys from Arkansas have found a niche and figured out how to let their faith inspire their music, but not push that faith on anyone. The lyrics could be about anyone or anything. Even though they are about JC or God or a disciple, the message is still universal. In “Sleep Well Tonight” singer Matt Baird sings from Jesus’ point of view, explaining that he is coming soon. With lyrics like “I can see the city skyline / I’m not that far away / I pull into the driveway and I see you,” coming out of Baird, it brings everything down to a personal level. Instead of hearing “Our God is an Awesome God,” Baird gives Jesus a car in a nameless city. JC is just making sure everyone is OK and that Spoken is still rolling.
2003 “A Moment of Imperfect Clarity” (Tooth and Nail)
2001 “Greatest Hits” (Metro One)
2000 “Echoes of the Spirit Still Dwell” (Metro One)
1999 “What Remains” (Metro One)
1997 “On Your Feet” (Metro One)