three (?) thumbs up

Believable Picnic (Absolute! )

Believable Picnic

By Robert Gruber

I can't imagine what it's like being a record executive, hearing the names of some of these bands that come out nowadays. It just gets weirder all the time.

Consider Believable Picnic. Believable Picnic?! Oh well, at least they don't use an unpronounceable symbol for a name -- that can get costly, what with having to add a whole new letter to the alphabet and all!

Goofy name aside, this new rock band of the alternative variety really, uh . . . rocks. Upon first listen, B.P. will remind Christian music fans of PFR. That may be because B.P. singer/guitarist Jade Hansen is the older brother of PFR singer/guitarist Joel Hansen, and perhaps the two siblings shared a common record collection growing up. If so, I'll bet they listened to plenty of Beatles, Queen and Squeeze -- Believable Picnic offers the same sort of inventive dynamics and smooth vocal harmonies.

Lyrically, B.P. explores biblical terrain from a less heavy-handed perspective than some Christian acts. Verses are alluded to, rather than quoted. The utopian imagery in "Shangri La" is sad and empty because it's man-made -- God is not there. "Big Fat Nothing" looks at personal success from "an eternal point of view," while "Listen" wonders about God's ability to hear all those different prayers at once.

Throughout all, Hansen lays down thick slabs of wah-wah guitar, interspersed with clean, ska-like rhythm swings. Bassist Jason Burkham goes for a fat, grungy tone that'll rattle your windows, while drummer Jeff Bridges (not the actor, duh!) keeps it brash and funky. Overall, I find Believable Picnic to be a big, bouncy, fun record that you can throw yourself around to, and if I were in the business of giving "thumb" ratings, all three of mine would definitely be up, up, up!!!