If anyone else has been disappointed with the direction Audio Adrenaline has been taking recently, please let me know. Since 2006, when original lead vocalist Mark Stuart decided to disband due to vocal cord damage, the Christian music world took a hard loss to one of the greats. Well, since then, the group has “rebanded” (more like rebranded), consisting of Kevin Max as the lead singer. The only original member had been bassist Will McGuinness. However, for 2015’s Sound of the Saints, the band is headed up by Stellar Kart’s Adam Agee, with no original founding members.
Sound of the Saints (2015): 11 tracks, 40 minutes
Although this album is most definitely not Audio Adrenaline-esque, I like that “Love Was Stronger,” “Miracles,” and “World Changers” echo “Kings & Queens” and some other songs from the last effort. At least they’re being somewhat consistent. “Out of the Fire” and “Saved My Soul” have a fun, upbeat vibe. The electronic feel on “Move” doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the songs and “Rejoice” and “Spirit Burn” had me yawning. Nothing special on either of them, except for some decent lyrics. “So Can I” stands out mostly because of its keys-based nature.
There are some excellent lyrics on this record. “So Can I” is a great song all-around. “Out of the Fire” has a great message, “I want the world to know / There is an antidote / A cure for this disease / You are the remedy, You are the remedy,” while “Miracles” emphasizes a great point about how God works: “It’s amazing how You move / It’s not always parting oceans / Sometimes it’s the little moments / When You show how close You are.” “Rejoice” reminds us of Job, when Adam relates, “Mysteries and trials test my faith / Questions without answers every day / Even when life takes away / And they all say to curse Your name / I will rejoice `cause Your light leads me home” and “Spirit Burn” pleads “Holy fire fall like rain / Mark Your church to bear Your name / Come in power, come and reign / Sanctify and stir Your saints.”
However, I do have some objections. I’m not going to say that I hate this album; I don’t. But, just like Kings & Queens, it’s not Audio Adrenaline. I won’t downplay that Audio A is doing great work with the orphans of Haiti through their Hands & Feet Project. I think that’s great. But I think they need to go back to their roots and pull out some classic sounds. On this record they feature a song called “Rejoice.” If you recall, there was a song on Lift that was also by that title and they sound nothing alike. At all. I think that should be illegal, even if it was thirteen years ago. A bonus track features the new lead vocalist, Adam Agee doing a cover of “Kings & Queens.” Would it kill you to do a cover of classic Audio A?
I admit, if someone bought me this, I wouldn’t throw it directly in the trash. Maybe that’s because I’m a music collector, but that’s beside the point. As far as I know, Mark Stuart is still in on the writing process, so there’s still a sliver of hope for Audio A yet. And maybe it’s not as bad as I make it out to be. I mean, there are some decent tracks on here, they just don’t sound like their namesake. That’s what really disappoints me. Maybe I should start a petition. 7.0/10