The Ringing Bell (Ino Records)
Derek Webb

By Kory Wilcoxson

Derek Webb is one pissed-off pacifist Christian. Listening to The Ringing Bell won't lead to "can't we all just get along" handholding. It's a raving polemic against the powers-that-be, a far cry from his more accessible work with Christian rock group Caedman's Call.

Feeling freer both musically and lyrically, Webb has crafted an exceptional album that weds no-holds-barred lyrics with jangly Beatles-influenced power pop. While a few of Webb's songs are a bit too obvious (guess what "A Savior on Capitol Hill" is about), the best songs on "Ringing Bell" are the ones that throw punches before the listener even knows it, like "I for an I" and "I Don't Want to Fight." And the music rocks in the most sublime of ways.

Webb balances his political statements with romantic odes like "I Wanna Marry You All Over Again" without compromising the power of his message. It's rare to hear an artist who can make your mind work and your feet tap at the same time. "The Ringing Bell" gets my vote for one of the albums of the year.

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