Supernatural (Forefront/Virgin)
dc Talk

By Robert Gruber

If 1995's million-selling Jesus Freak album was a major growth spurt for this one-time "Christian New Kids," then Supernatural is full-on adulthood I'm talking "pack your bags and get your own place, ya dig," and you would be wise to give the DC3 their props this time out.

Gone is the rap that characterized their sound for so long. In its place are smooth harmonies, superb songcraft and a seamless melding of influences. Thick, textured production by Mark Heimmerman ensures that there's always something interesting in the mix, something different to hear with each listen.

The album opens with "It's Killing Me," with shifts easily between mellow and slammin'. Catch that groovy Love & Rockets-style intro to "Dive"; "Consume Me" sounds somewhat like a Seal out-take; "Wanna Be Loved" is funky 70's Stevie Wonder retro; "My Friend (So Long)" seems to be an edgy rebuke to "sell-out"; Christian rockers who crossover without the cross but given dc Talk's characteristic humility, they're probably singing it to themselves (a la "What if I Stumble").

"The Truth" is a good song, but the "truth is out there" refrain brings to mind the X-Files, so it comes off kinda hokey. A much better song is "Red Letters" (a reference to Christ's spoken words in the Bible, often printed in red type) which could become a new hymn for the next millennium: "There is love in the red letters/there is truth in the red letters/there is hope in the red letters/peace and forgiveness/there is life in the red letters."