Thursday, April 5, 2012
Music Review: Ernie Haase and Signature Sound
Today, I am reviewing the new album from Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Here We Are Again.
This is the groups first original album in three years, and is a showcase of this group's diversity.
The album opens with an interesting take on the classic "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." The song carries a vaudeville-like feel that is different than the typical southern gospel song, but not so far removed from the imaginations of Signature Sound. After all, these guys have showed the genre what it means to be different.
The group follows the first track with a rocking tune called "Singing in the Midnight Hour." Note: This is not the Nelons classic by the same name.
Signature Sound's first single, "I've Been Here Before," is essentially the title track, and has been a hit for them at radio.
There are a couple of pretty good ballads in the middle of the album, including "Love Carried the Cross," which has a big, orchestrated sound that, while good, almost drowns out the vocals.
And, true to form, Signature Sound brings some out-of-the-box ideas through several of the songs, like the afore mentioned "Swing Low...," "Every Time" and "Any Other Man."
"Every Time" feels more like a clunky, party song. Clunky, because the lyrics just don't hit the listener in a smooth, flowing manner. Party, because, well, the guys are having a party while singing it. I like the song, but its just different.
"Any Other Man" is the only live cut on the album, and was recorded in Romania. It is different from the rest of the album, not just because it's live, but also because it feels like an old Imperials song. It's a driving ballad with big vocals, big orchestration and several big moments. Honestly, this might be the best cut on the album.
Overall, Here We Are Again is as different and cutting edge as this quartet has always been. I applaud the creativity exhibited in the arrangements. I think this album will be liked by existing fans, but I believe this album will draw in new fans, because it is so different.
It is well produced, although as I mentioned before, sometimes the vocals get lost in the music. It was probably designed that way, but my preference would've had the vocals a little more prominent in those big numbers.
I know we're still early in 2012, but this could be a contender for album of the year. The single, "I've Been Here Before" is already nominated for a couple of Dove Awards (April 19th in Atlanta).