Kathleen Carnali

Dangerous Prayer

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Christian kids who want big, noisy, hook-laden guitar rock that their parents would be hard-pressed to object to (sample song titles: "Highest Praise," "Rejoice," "I'm Just Gonna Praise") have a very good friend in Kathleen Carnali, a raven-haired singer/songwriter with a face like Catherine Zeta-Jones', teeth like Marie Osmond's, and what sounds like an army of Gibson Les Pauls jacked through ten tons of Marshall stacks and backed up by a Howitzer barrage of drummers. The choruses are fist-pumpingly anthemic and melodically easy to follow, and if they're sometimes a little bit puzzling ("I pray you don't long to be/More popular than Christ"), most of the time they're bombastically humble ("Bring me to my end/So I'm desperate for you," she shouts on the aptly named title track) and exuberantly abject in ways that will be comfortably familiar to fans of this type of thing. None of this is a criticism -- Christian rock is no more formulaic than any other identifiable rock genre, and is frequently less so -- but it does mean that Carnali's market is unapologetically narrow. Those who fit into it will find plenty to enjoy on this album.

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