Hollywood Black, Two Thousand Years Of Progress

Hollywood Black, Two Thousand Years Of Progress

Hollywood Black is a Christian rock band, although reading their interviews and listening to their lyrics might lead one to believe they conflicted about their faith. Is their first album Two Thousand Years Of Progress meant to be ironic, or a warning, or is it really meant to be introspective? If it is ironic, Hollywood Black is playing a big trick on their Christian listeners: they know what you’re thinking, kids, but they’re above it, have figured it out, ’cause they aren’t really sheep like you are, you know.

On the other hand, if this is an introspective album meant to help the listener examine a confused relationship with the Christian god, it exposes those who follow that god as self-absorbed, self-loathing victims of uncontrollable circumstance (“There’s no need to be afraid / The future has been written/ But only God in Heaven knows when it will happen”), programmed by a god that they can never please. I, for one, feel terribly sorry for these sorry sacks. And honestly, I have a tough time listening to “The End” and believing that this is all a big sendup: the description of the Rapture is too succinct, too loving, to be ironic. If I’ve missed the irony or sarcasm, I’m sorry, but I’d bet dollars to halos that lead singer and lyricist Ben Ellis is serious when he tells his listeners to “Make ready your eyes / Make ready your heart / For the trumpet call.”

Musically, the band captures a competent post-punk energy on the first half of the album. Ellis is a capable lyricist, although he has a limited vocal range and struggles to hit the high notes (especially in the pre-chorus on the title track). Musically, the band is tight and heavy without being dirge-y, and a few songs have some great hooks. “Almighty Dollar” might be the strongest song, nice and Clash-y in parts, and “The End” bashes along, although it is the most preachy and lyrically clumsy. “Kingwood” and “The Prodigal” examine paternal relationships gone bad. The album loses a bit of steam after that, with “The Restoration” lamenting the crucifixion and man’s denial through Jesus’ eyes. By “Holy Roller,” the momentum is pretty much gone, as if contemplating theses heavy thoughts has ground the energy out of the band.

[Hollywood Black is playing 9/28/07 at Walter’s on Washington, with The Western Civilization, Papermoons, & Elbows as Weapons.]
(Mia Kat Empire -- PMB 124, 4321 Kingwood Dr., Kingwood, TX. 77339; http://www.miakatempire.com/; Hollywood Black -- http://www.myspace.com/hollywoodblack)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Friday, September 21st, 2007. Filed under Reviews.

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