“Monochrome” and the title track “Control” from Tracing Days new CD introduce you to Lonnie Bos’s quirky vocal styling. Just as John Fogerty and Steven Harwell (Smash Mouth) caught their fans’ ears with voices that held a lot of sandpaper and grit Bos’s timbre is something that is different enough that you keep listening.
Unlike new acts that arrive too often on the Christian music scene Tracing Days is not trying to cover up chintzy lyrics with harsh sounding instrumentals that drown out the words. These guys have charted some great tunes. At times it is very much in the melodic rock vein and at others the music possesses an ethereal element.
The love song “My Love” inspired by songwriter Bos’ wife Stephanie takes the same choppy lyrical approach as Wilco’s “Say You Miss Me”.
Tracing Days’ music is firmly entrenched in a style that will appeal to AAA radio formats. Too bad there really aren’t any true AAA Christian radio stations. If I missed someone please raise your hand now because the internet is a wonderful thing and I would like to listen in.
Like most AAA artists Lonnie Bos crafts passively rebellious lyrics. Unlike the heavier metal and punk rock challenges in previous decades Tracing Days takes a more subtle approach.
Much like the effect John Mayer creates with “Waiting For The World to Change” Tracing Days takes direct aim at a mindset and values that in the songwriter’s opinion need to be changed but softens the tone of the message with a more subtle musicality. Bos takes direct aim at peer pressure with “Masquerade” and the incredibly named “Monochrome”.
Lonnie Boss says, “I don’t like living by cliches because they don’t challenge your own thinking. I love hanging out with people who ask tough questions and Tracing Days is all about working through issues, asking hard questions and searching for honest answers.”
Heavy guitar riffs create a dark somber mood for “Painted” a stark look at life without Christ;
A painted picture there
Wet ink runs down her face
Silhouettes of laughter
Disguise the smile she wears
Heading down that dark road
To find her name
The canvas that she was before
Rags frayed and torn
Ainslie Grosser’s (Rebecca St James, Fusebox) fingerprints are all over this album as he helped the band produce a record that pushes the envelope beyond the sticky gooey feel good pabulum that too many artists flying under the Christian banner are prepared to settle for.
Bos’ vocals are comped by great guitar work from bassist Kendall Kanning, guitarist Logan Schelvan and drummer Jonathan Skillman. The best vocal performance however comes from Schelvan on “Missing”. It is a gritty soulful track from the man who penned the original tune.
Copyright © 2006 Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved. This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague. Joe Montague is an internationally published freelance journalist / photographer.