Kaleidoscope Superior

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New Orleans-based contemporary Christian band Earthsuit employs a cut-and-paste eclecticism more typical of techno performers than gospel musicians, but their approach isn't really all that surprising. The usual M.O. of CCM acts is to listen to the Top 50 best-selling albums and then ape one or more of the trendy sounds, adding religious lyrics to the result. Thus, we get an album of samples, frantic beats, filtered vocals, rap, ska, toasting, and a heavy dose of what sounds like old-fashioned progressive rock, all in the service of traditional Christian devotion. At times, this makes for odd juxtapositions, if only because, as ever, it implies that there is no necessary relationship between the style of music and its lyric content. Unless you agree, you may find it disconcerting when, in "Against the Grain," an aggressive, angry-sounding rapper demands, "Just give me Jesus." Perhaps more problematic from a Christian point of view, the tracks are often so busy, and the vocals so often distorted by effects, that it's hard to make out what is being sung, and thus the message is buried beneath the music, which is not usually the intention in CCM. But who knows? Maybe Earthsuit will succeed in turning an army of ravers, surf punks, and stoners into soldiers of Christ.

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