Dogwood

Seismic

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    6
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Dogwood marks ten years on the Christian punk scene with this album, which finds the band keeping things fast and aggressive and maybe not quite as hook-smart as they were on 2001's Matt Aragon. At the same time, the band's religious witness seems to be getting a bit more complicated; on the one hand, this is still a band who is unafraid to deliver couplets as unambiguous as: "I have a faith no one believes/I love a God no one can see" ("Faith"). On the other hand, the album ends with a blistering slice of old-school hardcore that prominently features the lines: "Everything I've ever done/Everything I have/Amounts to nothing" ("Crushing"). In between there are such subtly inspired moments as the handclaps and acoustic guitar solo on "Trailer Full of Tragedies" and the surprisingly lush bridge to "Conscience in a Cave." In general, the band should have probably spent a bit more time crafting better tunes -- this stuff lives and dies on its hooks -- and here's hoping that the song title "Your Tongue Is the Deadliest of Arrows" doesn't presage a jump to the Jade Tree label in the near future. But this album is certainly well-worth hearing; Dogwood is probably incapable of making one that isn't.

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