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REVIEW: Lyrical content aside, Bleach produces winner

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The popular rock band Bleach has hit the music market one more time with “Again, For the First Time.” It has been a long and tiring haul for the band over the last three years.

In fact, the band was convinced after their self-titled and third release that it was time to call it quits and start a new chapter in their lives.

However, after spending time in their home state of Indiana, the founders of Bleach, guitarist Sam Barnhart and vocalist Dave Baysinger, reconsidered their future and decided that there was more music in them than they thought.

“As we got away from it and reevaluated and got a new vision for what we were doing, things started falling into place,” Barnhart recalled. “Things that kinda told us it wasn’t time to stop, that it was just the beginning and everything up till now was just preparation for what was to come. That made it real exciting for us.”

Brothers Milam and Jared Bryers joined the band not long after Bleach’s third album. Milam is the former guitarist for the alternate rock artist, Miss Angie, and Jared started out his acclaimed drumming career with the punk band Relient K.

Shortly after acquiring the Bryers brothers, Bleach picked up bassist Jerry Morrison, and the band was complete.

Although the band was back, they still didn’t have an official label home. They started recording, hoping that a company would pick them up. After finishing six songs, their wishes came true when Tooth and Nail Records heard what they had finished and signed them aboard.

Along with the new label and a brand new sound, the band was reborn. Bleach had a new beginning and a fresh take on music, taking a turn toward punk rock music similar to acts such as Jimmy Eat World, Relient K and Weezer.

“[‘Again, For the First Time’ is] probably, somewhat, a better reflection of what we’ve always wanted to be,” Barnhart said. “It’s weird, because it’s kind of what the vision of the band has always been, and it’s finally come into fruition.”

The $1 million question: Does the new Bleach work?

The band seems to think so, but such monumental changes in already successful bands prove, in many cases, disastrous.

From the opening track, Baseline, the punk style is evident with the intruding bass intro and the signature lyrical hook, essential to bands in this genre.

Other highlighted tracks on the album include the infectious and presumably crowd-favorite “We Are Tomorrow,” focusing on the future of youth, and the praise-filled “Celebrate,” rejoicing in their salvation.

I think the most over-looked track on the project is “Found You Out,” which combines a strong and talented drum background with a rock edge guitar feel and some creative song writing to produce an electric piece that fully exhibits the potential of a well-developed punk-rock song.

Musically, each song on the collection is well crafted and enjoyable to listen to, and I cannot point out a single one that is out of place or lacks any major element. Unlike many punk records, the production quality is perfect. It does not sound like the project was made on a low budget and recorded in a band-member’s garage, and it does not flood the listener with too much rock.

The one area that I think Bleach has fallen in is their lyrical content. Although the words are not necessarily outstanding, they are by no means horrible. In many songs, the Christian themes and ideas are vague, and use the ambiguous term “you” instead of God or Lord in their songs. Therefore, many of their songs could have seemingly been sung to a girlfriend instead of God.

The only major downside of “Again, For the First Time,” which is all too typical in modern punk bands, is that most of the tracks are too similar and, hence, seem to run together. A couple of slower songs mixed in with the current line-up would easily solve the problem.

Everything said, Bleach has created a new feel for the band and has never sounded better. Although loyal followers of the band may find the change hard to bear, “Again, For the First Time” is a must-buy for any fan of this style of music.

    About the Author

  • Tim Harms