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Welcome to the Rock 'N' Roll Circus

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Album Review

"We wanted to make a record that [would be] God's favorite record ever." After reading a quote like that, it's hard to fault Gabriel Wilson and his "band," Rock 'N' Roll Worship Circus, for a lack of ambition. The guitarist/vocalist claims that their partnership isn't really a rock band as much as a recurring spiritual event. All participants are apparently "members" in what is described as a musical worship experience. Glorifying God seems to be more central to Wilson and company (guitarist Eric Lemiere, drummer Zurn P. Praxair, and bassist Blurr), than other multi-platinum religious rockers of their day (Creed, P.O.D., etc.). For a major-label act, Rock 'N' Roll Worship Circus certainly emphasize their Christian intent more plainly than similar bands. But 2002's Welcome to the Rock 'N' Roll Worship Circus still comes off like an ordinary rock record performed by a talented, but ordinary, pop/rock group. To their credit, a certain purity of purpose extends beyond the band's publicity and into their music. While similar artists utilize coded lyrical messages that lend themselves to worldly interpretations, Wilson and company display no such ambiguity on tracks like "Blood of Jesus" and "Your Crown." These tracks, and the rest of Welcome to the Rock 'N' Roll Worship Circus, utilize a breathy pop sound that falls somewhere between Blur, the Dandy Warhols, and any teen-targeted TV show theme. "Safe" would be one good way to describe this music. Despite claims of Pink Floyd and '70s David Bowie influences, Welcome to the Rock 'N' Roll Worship Circus plays like just another well-crafted, but creatively impaired alt pop offering. A mild recommendation is still warranted, as there are a few impressive moments.

Welcome to the Rock 'N' Roll Circus, Rock 'n' Roll Worship Circus
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