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Give Mukala credit for being an alternative CCM band that doesn't play by the rules. They don't stick to post-R.E.M. jangle, as Jars of Clay do, nor are they a run-of-the-mill rock band. Instead, under the direction of leader Dan Mukala, they incorporate Beck-ian samples, drum loops and synthesizers to their alt-pop songwriting. The result is Fiction -- a contemporary CCM record that actually sounds contemporary. Occasionally, Mukala's songwriting is a little underdeveloped and overwhelmed by the production, but the best moments (and there are quite a few) are effective blends of melody, shiny hip production, and spirituality that are quite effective.

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