Crazy Love (Plus the Light Sides)
Judging by Crazy Love, this Christian punk-pop group is working its way though adolescent angst towards something like a mature perspective. In the process, the band is also making its faith more explicit (though no one would accuse them of sounding like, say, Casting Crowns yet). Crazy Love’s title track is a defiant believer’s anthem in the tradition of DC Talk’s “Jesus Freak,” acknowledging that “the world looks at us like we’re ridiculous.” God’s presence also shines upon the throbbing, synthesizer-drenched “Your Love Is a Mystery” and the thrashing yet prayerful “Skeleton.” Balancing such testimonies are romantic complaints (“Joanna”) and skewed character sketches (“Fraud”) very much in the style of Hawk Nelson’s earlier offerings. Singer Jason Dunn remains adept at offering positive sentiments while retaining his nervous edge — “We Can Change the World” and “Thanks for the Beautiful Memories” leave a warm glow after the last biting riff has faded into the ether. Still frantic but more thoughtful, Hawk Nelson gives evidence on Crazy Love of musical staying power.