Idol Chatter

annwilsonpicforidolchatter.jpgThe last time I saw Jars of Clay live the highlight of the show was lead singer Dan Haseltine’s obstreperously slurping impression of a coffeehouse barista steaming milk—the bane of the moody, acoustically inclined band’s existence and, at that time, Jars’ main competition. Nobody else on the Christian music scene promised crossover success like they did, and their latest release, “Live Monsters” makes it easy to see why. On this short but to the point collection recorded on last year’s “Good Monsters” tour, Jars shows that, at their best, they can shake off the canned sound that plagues the Christian rock market.
Live, the band pulls electricity out of Haseltine’s balefully pretty voice and crackling, studio-ready tightness. In the process they leave behind the already critically acclaimed album they were repping.

It’s funny to say this, because Jars have gotten themselves into trouble in the past for criticizing the idea of a separate Christian rock industry—the earlier album got its title after Haseltine called Christian Nashville “a monster” of its own creation, and later had to cover by calling it “a good monster.” But what’s best about the album is the ruffed up, seamlessly rocking sound they give even their most sensitive (read: mushy about Jesus,, or the disadvantaged) songs. Here’s to rocking first and preserving your spiritual pose later.

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