Homeless J is certainly an intriguing band. Frontman Chad Van Meter (aka "The Flash"), is a Lutheran minister, and the "J" in Homeless J stands for Jesus. Three Seconds to Gaze, the Indiana combo's first album, has been reviewed on Christian rock websites -- and yet, a press release insisted that Homeless J "is not a religious rock band." So is Three Seconds to Gaze really a Christian rock release, or is it really a secular release? Perhaps it is best to describe Three Seconds to Gaze as alternative rock that is spiritual in the way that U2 (one of Homeless J's major influences) is spiritual. While Bono's Christianity has influenced U2's reflections, U2 is generally considered a secular band, and Three Seconds to Gaze doesn't beat listeners over the head with religion any more than The Joshua Tree (one of U2's classic '80s albums). Van Meter's appreciation of Bono is hard to miss on this 50-minute CD, which is not to say that U2 is Homeless J's only influence. Actually, one thing that really adds to the intrigue factor is the band's variety of influences. Homeless J's sound not only includes a dose of U2, but also, elements of bands ranging from Led Zeppelin and the Doors to Jane's Addiction, Audioslave, Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins. There is plenty of post-grunge in Homeless J's sound, but art rock and '70s/'80s hard rock/arena rock are also part of the equation. Van Meter and his colleagues manage to be philosophical, reflective, quirky, artsy and infectious all at the same time, and Three Seconds to Gaze is a highly promising and consistent debut from the Midwesterners.
Three Seconds to Gaze Review
by Alex Henderson