The following is taken from a review by Dr. Denny Burk, professor at Criswell College in Dallas, TX.
"Soul Still Remembers"...is my new favorite album, and the Critics are my new favorite band.
Musically, "Soul Still Remembers" deserves a place among the all-time greats. I am a fan of bands like Counting Crows, Vertical Horizon, and Train, and this album surpasses them all. A written review cannot do justice to the Critics by way of description. You simply have to buy this album and listen to it for yourself.
To enjoy the album as it was intended, you really have to buy the CD. The songs are not arranged willy-nilly, but actually appear in an intentional sequence. The CD jacket is printed like a book, complete with chapter divisions and endnotes. Each song comprises a chapter (or "canto") in what is supposed to look like a book of poetry. And the lyrics are indeed poetry.
The lyrics portray the ruminations of an individual who is grappling with the issue of repentance, and each chapter opens up new vistas into the human condition before God. All of this is mixed with a profound understanding of the Word of God and how it describes our plight and salvation. Every time I reread these lyrics, there is a new insight that I hadn't seen before.
One of my favorite songs of the album is "To Jeremiah," a poem about the prophet and the Biblical book bearing his name. This song illustrates what is true of the rest of the pieces on the album; the lyrics can stand alone by themselves as poetry. Here's "To Jeremiah":
'Sing to me, Jeremiah,
of pickled skin and cracked bones,
of wrists rusted by chains
and feet cut by the stony road
where lion and bear wait
to kill your view of faulty Zion,
stripped down from her hill.
Tell me, Jeremiah,
about this town with no King,
where you, pressed face-long to the ground,
taste your teeth broken down
for the least of these.
Women eat salty skin
boiled and baked within them,
in their own hands,
and the prophets lie
and see clever fantasies
to calm the captives.
Let me, Jeremiah,
bear the yoke while I'm young
that I might sit down and shut up
disgraced in my own ashes-
a "harlot-town's son"-
so I can better know your hope
because, sir, I've seen your King.
Oh, Jeremiah sing,
for your King, at last, has come.
A new kingdom has come.'
Do not delay. Make haste and add this album to your collection.
(Below are quotations taken from Versha Sharma's article in the November 12th edition of THE CONGLOMERATE.)
"The Shreveport-based band started work on Soul Still Remembers in December of 2002. Having either known each other or played with each other at previous times, Nelson, Scott, and Stroope helped Roberts take what he calls "ten shells of songs" and make them into the full-length pieces found on the album. As for the band's namesake, Roberts claims that the band 'just picked it because we thought it sounded good. But we realized the songs were pretty self-critical, so if that means anything, so be it.' His casual remarks lend a deeper resonance to the lyrics of the album - lyrics of suffering, searching, sin, remorse, ultimate redemption and solace; this singer isn't just blankly following directions. He's singing what he believes in, and it shows."
"The music itself ranges from Coldplay-like to Incubus-like (think "Warning" from Morning View), with heavy bass lines giving way to soft piano."
"Fans of rock [are] pleased to hear songs such as 'Worse Than I Thought' and 'Soul Still Remembers' played to full volume, while more mellow fans [take] pleasure in hearing Roberts sing 'To Jeremiah' and 'The Faerie Queene,' which takes its spelling from classic English poet Edmund Spenser's epic poem of mankind and morality. Roberts's voice manages to switch from anguished and desperate to joyous and praising in a manner of minutes, and his versatile singing style, laced with the original sounds of the band, combine to make a potent force of music and faith."
Myles Roberts comments in the article on his bandmates:
"There's no drummer, guitar player, or bass player I would rather play with than the three I do. Take one person away from this band, and the album doesn't sound like it does and the other members won't play or sound like they do. Our tastes and, more importantly, our friendships influence the way each of us plays and writes. I think (is this lame?) we are one another's biggest fans. I don't think anyone loves the way Gregg plays guitar, Shawn plays bass, or Daniel plays drums more than I do. And I think they'd say similar things about each other and maybe even me."