11 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

This Christian folk-pop quartet turns in a commendable batch of tunes reflecting upon issues of love, self-doubt, and salvation here on its sophomore album. The elegant chamber-music touches that made its debut album so distinctive are still present, though electric guitars and keyboards assert themselves as well. Auxiliary member Greg Wells joins in on drums and bass, giving the Jars a more solidly anchored rock presence. A disquieting sort of mist hangs above tracks like “Frail,” “Tea and Sympathy,” and “Portrait of an Apology,” underscored by Dan Haseltine’s sometimes fragile lead vocals. “Crazy Times,” “Five Candles (You Were There),” and “Overjoyed” bring a sunnier tone to these generally melancholy proceedings, buoyed by jangling guitars and lustrous harmonies. The lilting, accordion-accented “Hymn” closes the album on a faith-affirming note. Much Afraid can be seen as a transitional album between Jars of Clay’s early acoustic work and the modern rock stratagems it would adopt on later albums. Anyone who appreciates the band’s evocative lyrics and bittersweet melodic sound will find much to like here.

EDITORS’ NOTES

This Christian folk-pop quartet turns in a commendable batch of tunes reflecting upon issues of love, self-doubt, and salvation here on its sophomore album. The elegant chamber-music touches that made its debut album so distinctive are still present, though electric guitars and keyboards assert themselves as well. Auxiliary member Greg Wells joins in on drums and bass, giving the Jars a more solidly anchored rock presence. A disquieting sort of mist hangs above tracks like “Frail,” “Tea and Sympathy,” and “Portrait of an Apology,” underscored by Dan Haseltine’s sometimes fragile lead vocals. “Crazy Times,” “Five Candles (You Were There),” and “Overjoyed” bring a sunnier tone to these generally melancholy proceedings, buoyed by jangling guitars and lustrous harmonies. The lilting, accordion-accented “Hymn” closes the album on a faith-affirming note. Much Afraid can be seen as a transitional album between Jars of Clay’s early acoustic work and the modern rock stratagems it would adopt on later albums. Anyone who appreciates the band’s evocative lyrics and bittersweet melodic sound will find much to like here.

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