Hurry Up And Wait

The Cardinal Sin

Grey Flight, 2006

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


The debut from The Cardinal Sin makes a promise from the first track and follows through -- a rarity for a debut album these days.

This band wears its issues on its sleeves on the opener, appropriately titled "Eye-Opener," as vocalist/guitarist James Russell delivers a compelling story about being in a band and being a parent. "There are many things I hope to see / a wife, child a real family / what kind of husband or father would I be? / Always gone." These are questions many musicians have thought about but don't often sing about, and it makes a powerful statement to deal with these kind of issues right off the bat -- and on the first track of the debut, no less. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

One gets the sense this band is special, and that is true. Having a great lead-off track on a debut release is one thing, though, and the rest of the material needs to back up the lead-off and offer something to the audience. Luckily for the listener, The Cardinal Sin comes through.

Despite your political affiliation, the sound byte from VP Dick Cheney used during "Swarm" is confrontational. Taking on the conflict in Iraq with potentcy, Russell makes a strong statement when he sings, "Do you question what you are? / Peace keeper or prison guard / Away from home and still so far / Are you like the rest / Now knowing who we are?" Later, he addresses soldiers being sent home in a body bag with these lyrics "You watch some friends go home / wrapped up in what they held high."

The clear message is that of a classic protest song -- the war sucks and nobody wants any of our soldiers, ours fathers, sons or husbands to be in harm's way. Yet that element of the conflict seems to be lost in Russell's lyrics.

Still, I like the Cardinal Sin. It is easily one of the best debut releases to cross my desk in a long time. The band aspires to deal with serious issues but does so with music that is simple yet interesting, giving you a chance to think about the words instead of the melodies. Case in point: the closer "Hell of a Saint," where Russell recalls a classic hymn when he sings "I once was lost / but now I'm found / I once was blind / oh so blind / but now I see / you know you never will / ever have me."

The CD includes bonus videos of the band in concert in the Twin Cities that give you a visual idea of what they sound like in concert. It's a good bonus to an already excellent debut.

Rating: A

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© 2007 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Grey Flight, and is used for informational purposes only.