Strange Celebrity


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Thanks to the broad acceptance of groups like Jars of Clay and Audio Adrenaline, alternative CCM became increasingly popular in the '90s, paving the way for major rock acts like Creed and P.O.D. to dive headlong into mainstream rock while retaining hints of spirituality in their lyrics. In the wake of these groups comes Strange Celebrity, whose debut disc, Remedy, wades in the same water but fails to make a splash of its own. This well-produced disc (by Danny Wilde of the Rembrandts and Nick Trevisick) is comparable to any of the radio-friendly rock churned out by groups like Third Eye Blind or Collective Soul; however, that comparison can be a serious weakness for any emerging artist. Strange Celebrity strives for originality, but the songs tend to be reminiscent of other hits, as in "Back to Life," where the opening guitar line lightly echoes that of the Verve Pipe's "The Freshmen." Even the best track, "Free," is haunted by the ghost of Creed's "Higher," with its shifting guitar licks and inspirational tone. Lyrically, the group's spiritual base is kept to a minimum, as most of the songs seem to reflect earthly relationships rather than heavenly, most likely an attempt to reach an audience beyond the boundaries of Christian music. None of this adds up to anything truly bad. In fact, most everything about Strange Celebrity is good, including the tight performances, catchy songs, and solid vocals from group founder Luke Brown. But no matter how competent Remedy is, it's not enough to make this disc float above a crowded sea of alternative rock bands and demand attention.

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