Windows and Walls
For 15 years, Mark Harris was the primary songwriter for the popular Christian pop group 4Him. When the band broke up in 2006, he took a job as a minister in his hometown while also continuing the solo career that he had begun with 2005's The Line Between the Two. Windows and Walls is his second solo effort, and it's an impressive one. The danger with Christian pop in particular always lies in the delicate balance between creating music that's fun and enjoyable for its own sake and writing lyrics that make the gospel message clear. The danger with solo work in general is that you don't have other bandmembers warning you away from bad ideas. Harris has been honing his craft for a long time, and has learned something about avoiding both pitfalls; this is clearest on perfect power pop compositions like "Windows and Walls" (which also boasts an apt and clever lyrical conceit) and "I Will See Jesus." On the other hand, having a few colleagues on hand might have helped him avoid the sappy excesses of "Writing on the Wall" and the obviousness of "One True God." He does get extra points for the slyly pointed lyrics on "Use Words." Fans shouldn't hesitate to pick this one up, and newcomers will find much to enjoy here as well. Recommended.