Shine Through the Stars

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Hands down the best indie album of 2008 and one of the best Christian albums in recent memory, Chasen's debut was one of the few that deserved every bit of the pre-release hype. Much of the buzz came from the early single "Crazy Beautiful," which reached number two on Christian radio charts long before Shine Through the Stars arrived as a complete project. Chasen's jangly melodic rock dwells in that coveted space between preachy and secular, between subtle and overt, between poignant and under the radar. The subject matter is universal, and the conclusions are not unique. But the way Chasen Callahan arrives at those conclusions makes you nod in silent agreement as you realize he is singing your soul. The crystal-voiced songwriter sings of resisting temptations, of seeing one's worth in the sight of God, of following the path of faith in a troubled world. And yet, with the exception of a couple of praise & worship anthems on the disc's back end, nothing is overtly religious. Producer Noel Golden seems to have lived up to his namesake, for he added a truly Midas-like polish to the record that inevitably brings to mind his work for Matchbox Twenty, Lee Ann Womack, and Edwin McCain. Honest, open, but not precocious, Chasen offer a feast for those who have been craving more substance in their diet of Christian rock. Highlights include the cathartic emotion of "Drown," the driving melody of "All Creation," and the atmospheric "You and I." Shine Through the Stars is at the top of a short list of CDs that continue to get better with each listen.

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