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So Much for Substitutes

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Album Review

In June of 2003, Christian rock band Downhere released their sophomore project So Much for Substitutes. The Canadian threesome, composed of members Marc Martel, Jason Germain, and Glenn Lavender, noted the release as being more guitar-driven and lyrically transparent then their 2001 self-titled album. In an interview with the band's record label Warner Brothers Records — Christian Division, bassist Lavender stated that So Much for Substitutes "is a much better representation of what we sound like in concert and has much more of a live feel overall."

The band points to their inspirations as being Pearl Jam, Coldplay, and Radiohead. However, in terms of follow Christian market artists, the band resembles the vocal style of Petra's John Schlitt and DC Talk's Kevin Max. Musically, the group bears similarities to Switchfoot, and a less produced Delirious.

Lyrically, Downhere wanted to challenge Christians to reexamine their priorities. Martel stated that the album's focus is two-fold: first, that life is a journey, and second, as Martel stated, " ... it's time we as believers get back to what's really important when it comes to what we believe and how we share that with others. God doesn't accept us putting half a foot forward, the fake facades we put on, and He certainly won't ever accept any substitutes."

Over all, the project is an interesting listen. While it will take several rotations of the disc to gain a good grasp of the individual songs, Downhere offers thought-provoking lyrics. However, with a handful of the songs somewhat depressing in nature, it makes for better listening on a sunny day when spirits tend to be higher and less susceptive to melancholy.

Customer Reviews

On the Road to Fame

Downhere is a truly talented band with another amazing album, "So Much for Substitutes." The first thing you will notice about this album is that it is nothing like their first, musically speaking. It reveals to us a much more edgier rock sound then the mellow debut. The first track and single, called "What It's Like," is driven by a very catchy guitar part and vocals. The song talks about how we question the reason why we have to suffer pain in life sometimes, but the song reminds us that God Himself went through the same pain that we experience, but on a much higher scale. "Stone" is the next track on the album, filled with a very nice melody and clever lyrics. The calm but yet intense melody draws you into a song that proclaims "I'd rather be Your stone, than light up another's sky. I'd rather be Your stone, 'Cause all Your stones become Your diamonds." "Breaking Me Down" has a very funky and bouncy beat to it which leads into the very addictive chorus that is pure pop/ rock. The song talks about how the love of God is changing our every way and making us a better person in the end. "Iliad" is the first mellow song on the cd, it is a praise and worship song to God. "Starspin" is sure to be the next hit among youth groups, the song is fueled by a hard-hitting guitar riff and great lyrics. The song also gives way to an amazing instrumental at the end. "Feels Like Winter" and "Walls" slow things down on the record a bit. "How They Love Each Other" starts off with a funky sound but leads into a mellow chorus. "Headed" sounds like something Nirvana would do as far as the sound and guitars. "Comatose" is surprisingly tucked away near the end of the record. I don't know why they didn't put it as the first or second track. The melody and lyrics both have something in common...strength and passion! The song talks about how the world is in a way in a coma. because doesn't realize that they are spiritually comatose. It's a great message for a great song. If you are looking for a christian band with amazing lyrics from scripture and amazing sounds, Downhere is your band. Downhere is definitely my favorite christian band ever since I saw them play live at my church. They truly love and worship Jesus.

Good All Around CD

DownHere is a good band that has a few outstanding songs. My personal favorite is Protest To Praise. Others are Starspin, In America, Comotose, and Headed. You won't be disappointed with those songs.


In a day in age where so many "Christian" artists are singing cotton candy and bubble gum songs, it's refreshing to see a group such as "Downhere" who comes in and blows you away with thought-provoking lyrics, all with a soul-stirring sound that few bands are able to accomplish. This band doesn't get a whole lot, if any recognition, especially by the top 10 hit Christian music stations that just recycle the same songs over and over again. Keep playing your hearts out to God guys. As long as you're playing to Him, that's all that matters anyway.


Formed: Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '00s

Canadian Christian rock outfit Downhere was formed in 1998 by then Bible College roommates Marc Martel and Jason Germain. After adding Tyson Manning and Jeremy Thiessen, the group released its 1999 independent eponymous debut. The album was reissued (and partially re-recorded) internationally in 2001 with new bass player Glenn Lavender on Word Records, and was followed in 2003 by So Much for Substitutes, also for Word. Downhere inked a deal with Centricity Records...
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So Much for Substitutes, Downhere
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