subversive, radical . . . Christian

Elevator (Waterfall Media)

By Robert Gruber

Blending smart, alterna-pop rhythms with lyrical introspection, Via's 14-song debut disc Elevator hits every floor and then some. A local band, Via's sound is right in line with the current crop of radio-friendly modern rock (Collective Soul, Dog's Eye View, Gin Blossoms, etc.).

Singer/lyricist Bobby Carby invests a great deal of positive thought and ideals into his songs--nothing typical about it, as he testifies in "Somebody Cares": "This ain't another stupid song about lies and sex and demons, but a gift of hope delivered to you." His use of word-picture multi-syllabacies is adept on the rap-like "S-E-X": "The word on the street is the feel-good doctrine/To live it up unrestrained . . . remorses, not morals is the ball and chain." Verse after verse, song after song, Carby seeks to subvert the real "dominant paradigms" --relativism, humanism, situation ethics -- by proposing the radical idea of love in Christ Jesus as the solution. Even a potentially dangerous line like "The only fixin' of the state the world's in is to burn it down and start over again" finds its origin in Scripture (where ultimately, all the best lines come from).

Musically, the trio of Carby on guitar, brother Tony on drums, and bassist Philip Owens (who also contributes songs to Elevator) are Ziploc-tight and impressive. Owens in particular is a musician's musician, capable of creating strong foundations and counter melodies for the other two to orbit with ease. Tony Carby's drum style is focused, uncluttered and artistic, while Bobby's guitar work adds character to each song without too much use of effects. The overall sound of the disc is crisp and bright, owing to Dale Buckingham's expert studio hand.