Recently, my iTune library at work seems to have vanished. While I wait in the vain hope it might reappear, I've been mooching music off my co-worker's libraries. I've used this opportunity to expand my musical reaches a little, and that brought me to the O. C. Supertones about a decade too late, specifically their 2005 worship focused Faith of a Child.
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The O. C. Supertones (also known as the Orange County Supertones or just the Supertones) were a Christian ska band during the late 90's and early 2000's. As the ska fad faded, they morphed into a rock and then a pop rock band. Faith Like a Child was released in 2005 about the time the group was breaking up.
This is a weird mix of a release in many ways. The first five tracks are all new recordings by the band. Four of them are covers of classic hymns or modern praise choruses. These songs are fine, but they aren't anything special. They feature keyboard and guitar and are rather slow in nature. "How Deep the Father's Love" and "Here I Am to Worship" was certainly great songs, however, I don't see anything different from the other versions of these songs I have from that time period. Likewise, "Come Thou Fount" and "Blessed Assurance" are pretty traditional, but at least they haven't been over produced during the last decade. The only song in this first half I didn't already know was "Remember," which appears to be an original song that talks about remembering all God has done for us.
It's the second half where things get a little more interesting. These six songs are all songs that the Supertones have previously released that still have a worship focus. "Shepherd is the Lamb" is the transition song. It's got a bit more of a beat than the first half, but it's still on the slow side.
Next come the two songs that made me track down my own copy of this disc. "Faith Like a Child" is a pleasant mid-tempo track with bits of the ska finally coming into play. The lyrics are direct, but the way it captures the struggle between faith and doubt is amazing. Just look at the chorus: "And this time I don't have an answer/But don't think that I haven't tried/I still have the heart of a seeker/But I need the faith of a child."
Saxophone leads off "Louder than the Mob," which gets a new recording here. This may have been 2005, but the ska influences are still pretty prevalent. This time, the focus is on how sinful we are. "My sin yelled crucify/Louder than the mob that day." The first line was what really got me. "I know I'm just another Judas/Kiss Your face while I drive a nail in Your hand." Obviously very direct, but so very true. And I just love the sax solos spread throughout.
The second new recording of a classic track comes next with "Hold on to Jesus." This is a pretty standard soft rock track that encourages us to cling to Jesus no matter what is going on in our lives.
"Away from You" is from their live release and features an infectious rhythm. The lyrics are pretty straightforward as they sing about life only being found in God.
They saved the highest energy song for last. There's absolutely no denying the high energy ska of the pure praise that is "Hallelujah." It's a great way to close out the disc and will leave you with a smile on your face.
All the lyrics are pretty straight forward, so those who appreciate poetic turns of phrase will be disappointed. Personally, I think they are more powerful because they are so direct.
Not being a regular fan of this band, I can't speak to how those fans would like this disc. My guess is with the mellower sound of the first half and the repeats in the second half, most of them would be just fine skipping it. Since I am new to the band, this is a perfect way to get my feet wet, however. It appears that even the ska here was lighter than their normal ska sound, again a strike against it for regular fans but something someone who doesn't normally go for ska will appreciate.
Am I ready to become a full-fledged O. C. Supertones fan? Probably not. But I am certainly enjoying Faith of a Child.
CD Length: 42:39
1. Come Thou Fount
3. How Deep the Father's Love
4. Here I Am to Worship
5. Blessed Assurance
6. Shepherd is a Lamb
7. Faith of a Child
8. Louder Than the Mob
9. Hold on to Jesus
10. Away from You
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