I haven't liked any of Jars Of Clay's previous offerings so this album was a real revelation. Their music has changed direction from its rather more folky sound to a contemporary Britrock that compares very well with current music from secular artists. Jars of Clay's lyrics in "Good Monsters" are also very interesting, exploring themes based around the failings that we all have. A quote from the lead singer in some of Jars' publicity materials is as follows: "Engaging people who are doing the hard work of laying their lives open to others and avoiding isolation has allowed me to see that there is both immeasurable evil and unfathomable good mixing under my own skin and it is grace, mercy and freedom that allow me to not simply be a monster, but to be a good monster." This is a timely reminder to head-in-the-sand Christians that they aren't better than everyone else but that we all have our good and bad and this is a theme explored in the CD.
Song-wise the standout song is "Work" but the others are all very good - catchy tunes, well sung and not over-produced like so much Christian music these days. Guest vocalist Leigh Nash, formerly of Sixpence None The Richer, appears in "Mirrors and Smoke".
Definitely an album that will sound good in years to come.