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Used CDs arrow Normals, The

Normals, The
Normals, The | Record Label not listed yet

Coming to Life (2000)*

Price: $5.00


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Every once in a blue moon an album comes out of nowhere, transcending by-rote pop mentalities, communicating truth without bowing to predictable ‘godspeak.’ Such a record offers songs that may never get much radio airplay yet become the subjects of countless conversations among music lovers who digest records the way one might peel an onion, layer by layer by layer.

Coming to Life, The Normals' sophomore effort, is that kind of an album-haunting, mysterious, artful and uplifting. It might be the best combination to date of smart, biblically-influenced lyrics and delicious, seductive accompaniment. Much credit goes to monster producer Malcolm Burn, the architect behind timeless creations by the likes of Emmylou Harris, John Mellencamp and Chris Whitley. His New Orleans home became the crucible for The Normals' newly found sound-the lion's share of which was created live in the studio-that's at once ethereal and rustic and dense.

Some highlights include the brave, intelligent ‘Black Dress’ that discusses lust from the perspective of King David and is helped by a frenetic acoustic guitar that seems to mirror the tempted character's quickened heartbeat. The sweet ballad ‘We Are the Beggars at the Foot of God's Door’ is propelled by a loopy bass and beautiful, thoughtful lyrics about grace. ‘Don't Hold Back (Full On)’ contains a full-throated vocal chorus reflecting its theme of piercing brokenness. ‘No Alibis’ has Burns' signature guitar production-earthy-yet-ghostly torrents of noise-all over it. And ‘Hillary,’ tracking at less than a minute in length, might have the best lyric of all.

This is a memorable record. If you love good music that stays with your gray matter for more reasons than catchy hooks, Coming to Life is your ticket to satisfaction. -- Dave Urbanski
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