Home > CCM, Christian Music, Christian Pop, Christian Rap, Christian Rock, Greatest Albums, Jesus Music > 368. Leave Here a Stranger – Starflyer 59

368. Leave Here a Stranger – Starflyer 59

LEAVE HERE A STRANGER (2001)

Starflyer 59

One of the longest lasting, most consistent and artistically compelling bands in Christian Alternative Music is Starflyer 59. Their debut album (Silver) was one of the first releases for Tooth and nail Records and they still release albums through the label today. And through those years they have continued to make creative and wonderful music that never quite musically or lyrically found a home in CCM.

Jason Martin, brother of Joy Electric’s Ronnie Martin, is the driving force behind SF59. Initially called a “shoegazer” band (as if anyone in the world of CCM had any idea what in the world that meant), SF59 is simply an indie band that creates beautifully haunting and melodic music. Several band members have come and gone, but SF59 is the vision of Martin and his presence is felt in every note.

Martin has mastered a system of layering sounds on top of sounds and vocals on top of vocals over and over to create a nearly other-worldly type soung of noise, music and “feeling.” Sometime somber and depressing, other times happy and melodic the music is as much the conveyor of the message as the lyric. Several songs will repeat a riff over and over with limited vocals, pulling, drawing and eventually flat out sucking the listener into its vortex of sound and feeling as if in a dream.

Leave Here a stranger is a record many have considered the best of the past decade of releases and that is bolstered by a Top Album of the Year award from LA based newspapers. The album was produced by Terry Taylor after several years of working withthe late Gene Eugene (Adam Again). taylor appeared to fine tuned the melodic and songwriting approach as many of the songs seem shorter than one would expect with several being under 4 minutes.

the album was also produced in Mono rather than Stereo to create a unique sense of timelessness and a different aura of guitar sound. It has been said that the decision was a tip of the hat to the Beach Boys classic “Pet Sounds” and after a few listens one wonders if there is more than just the Mono recording approach of Pet sounds that influenced this record.

I have never ventured to try and fully understand or explain away the lyrical content of Jason Martin’s music. Often surreal and dream-like the album raises as many doubts as it does answer to questions. On the surface ti appears to sound like a band searching for their own value and doubting their place in the music world. But that could also be a metaphor for the Christian not sure of his own place with the world or within the Church. Or it could mean something completely different, but that is one of the reasons sf59 is so damn compelling.

 

 

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  1. David
    November 2, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    This is near the top of my favorite SF59 albums. I have to admit, I don’t care for the mono. The stereo version of Give Up The War is just gorgeous and hints at how great this album would have been in stereo. The sound is muffled to me, so I made my own version with the EQ changed to make it brighter.

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