246. Speakeasy – Stavesacre

SPEAKEASY (1999)

Stavesacre

If Stavesacre is not the very best hard music band in CCM history, I’m not quite sure who can be placed above them.

Named after one of the most beautiful and poisonous flowers in the world, the band has been comprised of some of the finest musicians in the annals of Christian hard music. Originally combining members of The Crucified, Focused and The Blamed, the line-up for Speakeasy traded out Jeremy Moffett on drums, replaced by Sam West of Scaterd Few. Literally a superstar line-up for the genre.

Though a possibly stronger album overall than the debut which will be listed later, the debut does contain one of the best (if not the best) song in Christian hard music history. But Speakeasy is so consistently strong from start to finish it simply needs to be heard over and over as a whole.

Lyrically the album is the strongest of the band’s career and more personal than most songs in the genre. I don’t know the numbers but i would also guess it is the best-selling album for the band as it made inroads into the mainstream market as well as possessing a strong showing in the CCM album sales charts.

Less aggressive than the previous two albums, Speakeasy employs better songwriting, musically and lyrically, and a more polished, consistent sound. The songs are not driven by the ferocious punk influenced heavy guitar work, but with a more “wall of sound” approach which draws the listener in more than pounds them over the head.

The album also comes off as more personal as lead vocalist Mark Salomon’s approach is more reflective and transparent, with the focus more inward directed. Rivers Underneath is a potent and powerful 6 minute song that is shockingly heavy despite a more subtle and lilting approach. It churns and drives while never being fast and ferocious. Yet, at the same time, feeling heavy and stirring.

Though Speakeasy may not contain that “one song,” much like U2 it is more about the overall performance and flow that makes it such an impressive and memorable release.

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  1. TMc
    November 22, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I absolutely love this album. But I think it was the maturity in the songwriting that finally made me a Stavesacre fan. I had the first two albums and they never grabbed me the way that this one did. I don’t think its so much what is said but how it was said; from the heart, with conviction.

    You Know How It Is was great fun. Gold and Silver covers the refuge found in Christ. Freefall can only come from the pen of a person who has fallen and felt the full forgiveness; really understands grace.
    This Love is real. It’s pure. This love endures.
    In burning hearts, taking sides, it turns and it divides.
    It awakens you or you sleep as others do

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