11 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s easy to imagine Trent Monk and Michael Neagle as street corner buskers, playing for spare change on a summer afternoon, and they infuse The Twenty-First Time (2007) with an easy-going, starry-eyed glow. The Christian duo’s second album recalls the innocence of early Jesus Music, avoiding commentary on mankind’s woes in favor of unabashed joy. There are exceptions — the album’s title track nudges the listener towards helping the downtrodden, while “What Soldiers Do” offers a vignette of a family about to be separated by war — but for the most part, the tunes reflect everyday happiness, captured in lilting harmonies and breezy acoustic guitar accompaniment. Monk & Neagle make it work by avoiding any hint of pretentiousness — whether they’re singing of domestic bliss in “Wonderful Angel” or “Fallin’” or matching voices in praise of the Lord in “Beautiful You,” there’s no bombast here. Producer Ed Cash brings out the nice-guy charm of the duo by keeping the tracks clean and sparse, adding some electric guitar and strings as accents. A little darkness might be welcomed on future albums, but for now, The Twenty-First Time feels easy on the ears as it (gently) rouses the spirit.

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s easy to imagine Trent Monk and Michael Neagle as street corner buskers, playing for spare change on a summer afternoon, and they infuse The Twenty-First Time (2007) with an easy-going, starry-eyed glow. The Christian duo’s second album recalls the innocence of early Jesus Music, avoiding commentary on mankind’s woes in favor of unabashed joy. There are exceptions — the album’s title track nudges the listener towards helping the downtrodden, while “What Soldiers Do” offers a vignette of a family about to be separated by war — but for the most part, the tunes reflect everyday happiness, captured in lilting harmonies and breezy acoustic guitar accompaniment. Monk & Neagle make it work by avoiding any hint of pretentiousness — whether they’re singing of domestic bliss in “Wonderful Angel” or “Fallin’” or matching voices in praise of the Lord in “Beautiful You,” there’s no bombast here. Producer Ed Cash brings out the nice-guy charm of the duo by keeping the tracks clean and sparse, adding some electric guitar and strings as accents. A little darkness might be welcomed on future albums, but for now, The Twenty-First Time feels easy on the ears as it (gently) rouses the spirit.

TITLE TIME
4:09
3:15
4:30
3:28
3:47
3:01
3:26
2:49
3:07
4:23
3:50

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