Friday, September 28, 2007

Caedmon’s Call – Overdressed

When I heard that Derek Webb was returning to Caedmon's Call (for at least one album and a tour) I was pleased. I thought that Derek benefitted from being in the band (although his solo work has been very good) and Caedmon's was better when Derek was there. So I wasn't really surprised when Overdressed, the new Caedmon's album was excellent. What did surprise me, though, is how strong all the members of the band are on this album, especially Andrew Osenga. With strong vocals, arrangements and writing, Overdressed is the best CC album since 2000's Long Line of Leavers.

Even though I came into this album excited to hear Derek's songs it is the two songs that feature Andy Osenga, "Expectations" and "Hold the Light," that really caught my ear. "Hold the Light," sounds like a really good track from the Normals (Andrew's previous band) and "Expectations" sounds like nothing Caedmon's Call has done before. That's not true of the entire album. Caedmon's wisely went back to their acoustic-based sound that they first honed on their independent albums and their first self-titled national release. And while there are sonic diversions, many of the songs, especially those sung by Cliff Young, tend to be right down the middle of the strike zone for fans of the traditional Caedmon's sound, which is both good and bad. It's good to hear what one expects from a Caedmon's Call album but it's also good to be surprised. This album has a nice dose of both. I especially enjoy hearing more of Danielle Young on this album than I did on earlier ones. She seems to take the vocal spotlight more often – or maybe she's just doing it better. "Sacred," a song she sings about how even our daily housework is done for God, is well written and well delivered. This album has many highlights, however, and only a few songs I merely like. I should note that the writing by Webb and Osenga along with Randall Goodgame and Sandra McCracken is especially strong on this album. If, like me, you thought that Caedmon's Call's best days were behind them and that perhaps they were fading away, this album will renew your enthusiasm for what is arguably one of the best bands to come out of the Christian Music industry.


Katherine said...

Hmm... this sounds really good. I only have LLoL, and wasn't ever very fond of it. I've loved Derek Webb's solo work (though not nearly as much as Sandra McCracken's). I'll put this on the wish list.

Michael Krahn said...

Having now spent some time with this album I offer these observations (they're quite critical but not to be taken personally):

- Derek is good with Caedmon's Call and always has been - but His solo work is thin and lame.

- Andrew Osenga should have been featured more prominently on previous albums.

- Cliff and Danielle are both unbearably amateur compared with Andrew and Derek and the contrast seems to be getting more obvious. They are competent for BGVs at best .

Fortunately,(I think for the first time) there are more songs on the album that I like than ones I abhor.