Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
June 07, 2004
Amazon Disco:
New Medicines New Medicines
April 6, 2004
Tooth & Nail Records
Four Wall Blackmail Four Wall Blackmail
June 4, 2002
Tooth & Nail Records
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Dead Poetic
New Medicines

Dear God,

you're a surreptitious little bastard, aren't you!! i mean, i thought it was amazing how you stealthily propelled your tenets to the very fore of the mainstream by first introducing Stryper. bawdy, yes, but you put it in peoples' minds that maybe Jesus had long hair for a reason: to rock the fuck out. but you never really had much success after that, or at least your music wasn't as ubiquitous as yourself. frankly, you took an immensely WRONG leap by using Creed, figuring that the mainstream needed a great dose of 'The Word.' yes, they were successful. yes, they made Church-going cool to 15-year olds, but they did so by narrowing their range of mainstream interest. i mean, seriously, how many times did Scott Stapp say that Creed wasn't a religious band? it's not because he didn't believe in you, but rather because he felt that he had to somehow mitigate the religious message to maintain credibility (though he never seemed to try that hard).

but now you've done it. now you finally understand. you've used genres that are more opaque to voice your message, even if it means those who do may even come to question your very existence. i presume you did this prid quo pro: a wider phalanx of religious musicians for a less garrulous religious message. that exchange begot groups like Pedro The Lion, Switchfoot, Zao, and Dead Poetic. their success wouldn't always be as palpable as a hit record, but they'd receive a far more important currency: credibility from a secular mainstream. they were free to roam whatever genre they sought without being accused of being, in the words of DC Talk themselves, "Jesus Freaks." you deserve all the glory but, you know, you still haven't come full circle. i mean, yes, you have musicians that exhibit profoundly complex opinions about your status, but you have yet to put genuine talent before the message. i'll explain.

let's take Dead Poetic. on their last album, Four Wall Blackmail, they produced a burgeoning sound that was very much still wrapped in general naivete. it was ok and it was decidedly Christian. but on their new cd, New Medicines, they've made significant improvements to their sound by adding a new guitarist (Todd Osborn) and employing more melodic elements like, well, singing. i've found myself listening to 'Molotov,' 'New Medicines,' and 'Glass in The Trees' for days upon days, thrashing my head and air-guitaring only to realize, hey, these guys aren't half bad. Brandon Rike mangles the gutteral screams with emo/indie-rock vocals with almost the same facility as Geoff Rickley of Thursday, and the rest of the band show a perspicacious chemistry that's undeniably good.

but you know ... there's still too much, i dunno, Jesus to it all. take these few lines from 'Glass in The Trees:'

They've cut down the trees to try to forget you.
But I took a vow to never forget you.
If you're still here, then we're waiting.

We'll wait for you to come back home to the broken little foes.
Until the guilt grows and grows.
When the time that's wasted comes back to haunt me.
And I'll deserve every bit. because I'm not spiritual yet.
I'm just reading the lines they gave me from the pulpit.

subtle? not so much. well-written? absolutely. like i said, the band's artistic competence is stellar and they could very well have great underground and mainstream success on their next record. but for now i'll clap and keep rocking out to the record, if only to realize that it's not something i can completely relate to. tell the boys of Dead Poetic to keep up the good work and that they'll crack that seemingly unphased 'secular' mainstream.

by the way, could you, like, get me some booty in the next week or so? just kidding [kinda]. you're the man.

Thanks,

Your Favorite Heathen

Release date: April 6, 2004
Label: Tooth & Nail
Rating: 6.5 / 10

[RMR]