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Fighting Instinct

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Album Review

They're coy about it in their press materials, but you don't have to listen too hard to pick up on the fact that Fighting Instinct is, above all, a Christian rock band. You get hints of their religious persuasion early on in the program, with relatively subtle songs like "Light My Way" and "Back to You," but by the time you've arrived at the album-closing "Just to Please You," there's no question left: "Just to please you, Father/Is my one desire/To preach the gospel to every nation," T.J. Harris sings, while the band drops down from the generally high level of musical tension that has characterized almost every other track and supports him with delicate grace. Up until that point, Fighting Instinct's eponymous debut album is a riot of crunchy guitar rock that owes equal debts to Southern rock, early Northwestern grunge and '60s pop-soul. Harris is a brilliant singer and a formidable guitarist, but the band's secret is its ensemble sound, a sharp, rumbling roar that manages to balance weight with nimbleness in a way that far more experienced ensembles might envy. Note in particular the dark "My Heart Cries Out," the anthemic "Crush," and especially the album's masterpiece, "Light My Way," a straight-up pop song built on subtly complex chord changes. Non-believers may find themselves singing along despite themselves, which would probably make the members of Fighting Instinct very happy.

Fighting Instinct, Fighting Instinct
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