P86: “Songs to Burn Your Bridges By”

phpthumb_generated_thumbnailHard rock outfit Project 86 have been around for quite a while. Their debut came in 2000, entitled Drawing Black Lines, followed by Truthless Heroes 2002, and Songs to Burn Your Bridges By in 2004. Following these releases were And the Rest Will Follow (2005), Rival Factions (2007), Picket Fence Cartel (2009), a live compilation, XV. Live. (2010), Wait for the Siren (2012), and their latest, Knives to the Future (2014). Although their success might not be immediately evident, they are one of the essential Christian hard rock artists of today.

Songs to Burn Your Bridges By (2004): 14 tracks, 50 minutes

Musically, this record starts off great. “The Spy Hunter” is one of the most popular songs to be released by P86, with a sick phaser intro and some hardcore chords. However, after that it goes downhill fast. One Achilles heel of Project 86 music is their consistency. It’s not always a bad thing, especially after all the lineup changes, but too much of a good thing isn’t such a good thing. Some songs that break up the monotony on this album include “A Shadow On Me,” “Say Goodnight to the Bad Guy,” “The Great Golden Gate Disaster,” “Breakneck Speed,” “A Fruitless End Ever,” and the ambient “A Text Message to the So-Called Emperor.”

This album is very clean overall. The only objection I have is a suggestive line in “Sioux Lane Spirits” when he says “Into another’s arms / Into another’s bed.”

There are a lot of solid lyrics as well. “The Spy Hunter” states “I do not need anymore truthless heroes” and then ends with “I need truth,” a great message for today’s postmodern world. “Safe Haven” calls to mind Jesus’ words in John 15:18. “Breakdown in 3/4” reminds us that we won’t last forever, “Is it comforting to know we’re so temporary?” while the first lyrics of “The Great Golden Gate Disaster” remind us of our sin nature: “Outside you there’s a remedy / Inside you is an enemy.” The first verse of “Solace” is a beautiful picture of rest and contentedness.

If you ask P86 fans, a lot of them will tell you that Songs to Burn Your Bridges By is their favorite record overall. While I haven’t listened to them extensively, Project 86 does have a good sound, when it’s not overdone. If you listen to this album, there seems to be some repetition, but they do break it up with a lot of good songs, so I have to hand it to them for that. If you can handle the scratchy lyrics, then it’s probably a good entry-level collection to listen to if you’re interested in this style. 7.5/10

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