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Thrifty Mr. Kickstar; Dryve
album cover

The idea that we don't need more people to write Christian books but rather more Christians to write books on all subjects with their beliefs intact is attributed to C.S. Lewis, but it applies to a strand of emerging Christian bands such as Dryve. Some bands seem to start out writing with their parameters set to make Christian music. Other bands seem to start out writing great music and poetry and the end result is Christian music. Some may see the difference as small, but it can make all the difference in the world--especially if we are ever to be culturally relevant to our society. Dryve is one of those bands who seems to go about the business of writing great music and poetry, allowing their beliefs to show through.

Sometimes cryptic, sometimes clear, the lyrics on Thrifty Mr. Kickstar nearly always leave something to chew on, distinguishing this release from the quickly digestible lyrics of many fast food Christian bands. On their debut, Dryve delivers tunes about life and relationships, both vertical and horizontal. They lament the loss of innocence, sing praises to God, and offer prayers and thoughts about people in their lives, in our lives.

Musically, Dryve joins bands like Counting Crows and the Wallflowers in paying homage to late '60s/early '70s California bands like the Byrds, Poco, and even the early Eagles. The sound is a little rougher than Counting Crows and the Wallflowers, but this edge adds quite a bit to the album's organic nature. This is seriously fun, folky-rocky, guitar-bass-drums and organ, lots of organ, music. It fits in nicely with fellow 5 Minute Walk label-mates Dime Store Prophets and Model Engine (a.k.a. the band formerly known as Black Eyed Sceva).

Speaking of 5 Minute Walk, the first I heard of Dryve was from the label's second sampler. "Nervous" hooked me immediately and raised my expectations for this to be one of the best releases of 1997. The rest of the album didn't let me down, and Thrifty Mr. Kickstar wears well. A lot of that is due to the ponderability of the lyrics and the comfortable feel of the music. Highlights include "Nervous" with its "turn up the radio" groove, the jamming title cut and "Television," and the stripped-down "She Ain't Ready." Not to be missed is the praiseful "Rain." It starts off slow and worshipful:

When I wake, You're there
When I run, You run for me
When I call, You listen
Just to believe that You want me
Make me think
I'm bound to know You

Then it grows and grows to a full extended instrumental jam of praise. It's a song to lose yourself in. I don't use the word often, but this is as close as music ever gets to being anointed.

I know it sounds like I've just gushed all over my keyboard about this album, but it really is that good. Hearing is believing. If you like modern folk rock a la the Wallflowers, you're gonna believe, too.

-- Ed Rock

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