Year of the Album — #021
Hyland – “Weights and Measures” (2011, Tooth and Nail)
“I should have known better, but I’m playing it safe,” sings Hyland frontman Jon Lewis sings on “The One That Got Away,” the second track on this by-the-numbers Christian Rock effort. The problem is that the line, which applies to a relationship on the song itself, seems to apply to the entire album. Hyland is a competant group, and their blend of pop lends itself well to their mild melodies and consistant harmonies. But they do little to differentiate themselves musically from any number of other bands playing the same style of music, even being outshone by labelmates Hawk Nelson and their superior effort Crazy Love.
Then again, the world of contemporary Christian pop music doesn’t really rely on originality, and for what it is, Weights and Measures has its share of potential CCM hit singles in the making. “Crying Out” has the album’s strongest, most urgent chorus, fitting with its lyrical message of lives crying out for salvation (culminating in an acapella choir finish which really elevates the song beyond what has come before). And unless you go in expecting something worthy of crossover success, the band’s consistent messages of faith, love and the weight of the world hits the mark more often than it misses.
The key is in managing expectations. These Minneapolis musicians need to work to differentiate themselves from the pack on future albums if they truly don’t want to settle for second best, but for a debut album in a genre known for embracing consistency over innovation Weights and Measures serves as a decent beginning. Whether they’ll be satisfied with living up to managed expectations remains to be seen.