Bernard – A View Beyond The Cave (CD)

Bernard starts their “A View Beyond The Cave” with something nothing more special than a piano,m only adding a set of vocals to the mix when the opening section has run its course. This is not the vocal stylings of Ben Folds or Shayne Ward, but rather, the vocals move into more of an instrumental sound than anything. There is the same sort of cold electronic sound that crowds the edges of this track as was present in late-nineties music such as Stephen Curtis Chapman’s “Dive” and a number of the Newsboys tracks. The band brings a tremendous sense of gravity to their listeners from the starting gate, and with the incorporation of a distorted guitar half-way through the track, something that is closer to Sigur Ros comes to the fore.

The jangly guitar of “To Those of This World” mixes with the synthesizer (this time, almost taking a Manfred Mann type of sound) to bring Bernard firmly into the U2 camp of things. This song is much more poppy than the combination of “A View Beyond The Cave” and “Reconcile Our Lives”, but shows Bernard in the same light as before; extremely capable musicians that are trying to craft their own distinct style with the music that they have placed on this disc. The bass makes its big entrance during “To Those of This World”, something that allows individuals to hear the fullness that Bernard is capable of with their music.

The piano trills that open up “Too Far” remind me of the phrase “irrational exuberance”, and while they do provide something new for listeners to gnaw onto, they break with the overall sound of the disc a little too much. However, this warning comes with a caveat; after the band kicks things into a higher (harder) gear during the track, the trills sound much more fitting than they once did. The disc is priced well under ten dollars (a precursory view shows the current price at around $8), but the amount of music that Bernard places on to “A View Beyond The Cave” and the replay value of that music makes this disc a must-buy. This is a full album that only a blending of older acts like Husker Du and newer ones like The New Radicals would create; Bernard does all of that while still coming up with their own style for this album. Pick it up.

Top Tracks: Too Far, To Those of This World

Rating: 7.0/10

[JMcQ]

Bernard – A View Beyond The Cave / 2006 Floodgate Records / 8 Tracks / http://www.bernardmusic.com / http://www.floodgaterecords.com / Reviewed 04 July 2006

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