Sounds like … shimmering melodic rock reminiscent of Coldplay and the new wave resurgence of The Killers with a little of the lyrical irony of Ben Folds

At a glance … as timely, clever, well crafted, and catchy as their debut is, what's not to like about Red Umbrella?

A lot of rock albums lately have a tendency towards over-production, which is why there's something almost charming about hearing a debut that's a little more lo-fi every once in a while. But don't mistake lo-fi for low-budget in the case of Red Umbrella. Rather than use all the studio bells and whistles available to them, the "less is more" approach is what makes their debut Wishing for Boardwalk all the more satisfying.

Getting things started is the mid-tempo "Storm Warning," a bright, poppy declaration (complete with hand claps) that God will always be there, no matter what someone is going through. And while that theme has definitely been explored before on many a Christian album, these Canadian rockers put a clever lyrical spin on the subject that effectively sets the stage for what's to come. Amping things up a notch with the guitars is "Straight Jacket," a track that's definitely worth hitting repeat for. With lead singer Jeremy Michaelis' staccato vocal delivery and a decidedly new wave beat, there's plenty to love here with each listen.

"Already Won" slows things down a little with the ethereal, slightly off-beat ambience of a Starflyer 59 song that picks up in tempo with each verse and presents an affirming message of what's ultimately at the end of the proverbial road of the Christian life. "Home" is almost a continuation of the thought from "Already Won," but sports more of a slightly eccentric, loopy feel that resembles Sufjan Stevens' Illinois with a chorus that'll stick in your head for days.

Wishing For Boardwalk continues to keep the listener guessing from track to track with a mix of melodic rock and new wave resurgence—Coldplay meets The Killers. Yet it's done in such an enjoyable way that keeps the project from sounding too disjointed. It's this diversity of sound that makes Red Umbrella so refreshing, particularly in the Christian music scene.

Wishing For Boardwalk
Our Rating
4 Stars - Excellent
Average Rating
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Release Date
August 29, 2006
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