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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

CD Review: Live Fish - For All We Hope

Live Fish - For All We Hope
2007, Live Fish

Contemporary Christian music has come a long way in the past 20 years. In the late 1980's there was a significant quality gap between CCM and popular music you might hear on the radio. This gap was evident not only in the quality of the songwriting, which tended to be very clique and glib, to the production values encountered on many CCM CDs from that time. The advent of artists such as Stryper, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Jar of Clay and Five Iron Frenzy have transformed CCM into a viable commercial art form while still focusing on the ecumenical goal of the art. Live Fish are one of many beneficiaries of the advance of CCM as a musical art form, and offer up their own entry into the popular music library, For All We Hope.

Live Fish musically come across as a heavier version of Matchbox 20. The songs are hook heavy and poppy, with perhaps just a bit stronger guitar presence than Rob Thomas and company. That said, there is something very formulaic about For All We Hope. The album is very listenable and commercial, but fails to distinguish itself from its peers in either CCM or commercial rock and roll. The focus here is more on the inspirational side of CCM as opposed to worship, and the album will certainly find its fans. It's not a bad album, just not a great album.

Missing is the highlight of this particular album, with Beautiful Life and Fade Out coming in close behind. Fade Out is the heaviest rocker here and definitely will get your feet moving. This may be a big hit in the CCM community, but unfortunately there are just too many bands in the commercial realm with a similar sound -- there's no musical “whoa!” moment here to make For All We Hope stand out.

All is not lost however. As I've noted, it's a good album, and the band is very solid from instrumentation to vocals. There are flashes of greatness here, and with additional time to write/play together, Live Fish might find their piece-de-resistance yet.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Live Fish at, where you can purchase a copy of For All We Hope.

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