Sunsets & Sushi

David Crowder Band

sixsteprecords, 2005

REVIEW BY: Daniel Camp


Experimentation is a tricky thing for artists in any genre. In the cases of special bands like the Beatles to U2, messing with an already good thing can make the “now” group a legend for years to come instead of merely a passing fad. After all, you may picture the Beatles as the lovable moptops of the early 60’s, but when asked what their best album is, you’re most likely to answer either Revolver or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—and either way you’re picking a change from the strict pop formula of Beatlemania.

In other cases, however, change is not a good thing. I have no desire to hear an AC/DC ballad about unrequited love, nor to hear a balls-to-the-wall rocker from Carole King. Sometimes, when the formula works, it should be stuck with and milked for all it’s worth to save the group embarrassment and the fans money.

David Crowder Band has a killer praise and worship formula—loud, energetic, simple, and sincere. And they need to stick to it, because the remix album Sunsets & Sushi is dreadful.

First of all, I’m not sure what they were going for here. Is it dance music? Is it tropical? Electronica maybe? They’ve got me, because all I can figure out is that it’s bad. The group has taken good to great worship tracks like “No One Like You” and added funky beats, echo effects, reverb, you name it. It’s almost as though David and Co. pointed at random buttons on the studio’s sound boards and said “I want that one, and that one, and that one!” without knowing what they were pointing to.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I confess, the randomness does come together in such a way that the songs remain cohesive, and for that reason this album escapes the dreaded F rating. Whatever style of music this was supposed to be, it’s polished (but then, it’s hard to imagine something like this in a raw form.)

David Crowder, the band’s leader and vocalist, has a good voice, but on this album it seems almost as though he was asked to sing four lines or so and let the producers take it from there. Each song is phenomenally repetitive (granted, a typical approach for the David Crowder Band), and his vocals are tampered with to the point that it’s difficult to imagine him even attempting one of these remixes live.

And as for the instrumentalists, the guitars are hard to hear, the bass is virtually nonexistent, and only the drums seem untouched by the studio gimmicks. Maybe I’m too traditional, but if there’s an instrument playing, I want to hear it over the backbeat of some studio machine.

As for the songs themselves, each is difficult to distinguish from the one before it. Slow song, fast song, it doesn’t seem to matter what its category was on Illuminate, the album these songs were lifted from. The tempo never changes from song to song, and neither does the style, so the semblance of a tune and the lyrics are all that separate each song. Formerly entertaining worship tracks like “Revolutionary Love” and “How Great” are reduced to clones, devoid of their original charm and replaced with bubbly, headache-inducing electronica.

My final complaint is perhaps my biggest. David Crowder Band’s typical forte is worship music—they may be repetitive and they may be simple, but they know how to make a crowd feel the Holy Spirit. On Sunsets & Sushi, it seems like their focus is gone. From what I hear on the album, they aren’t singing and playing to God anymore, they’re fiddling with their formula and their stardom to make a few bucks and see what happens. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have fun, by any means, and it’s not my place to judge their hearts, but I can’t hear the sincerity I’m accustomed to from them.

Illuminate was an excellent praise and worship album. I recommend it to anyone looking for straight, catchy worship music. But if that album was a dove, carrying good news, then Sunsets & Sushi is a mosquito—no one knows what it’s carrying, so stay away.

Rating: D-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2008 Daniel Camp and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of sixsteprecords, and is used for informational purposes only.