“The last album I covered for Five A.M. was the 2002 release Degrees of Falling. I was impressed with this band six years ago; in fact, I gave that release 5 stars. So the question is now would Raise the Sun be just as impressive? I can honestly answer that with a reverberating yes!
This recording is well produced and their musicianship has reached another level. Jason McGrath (bass), Jed Friesen (drums), Trent Yaconelli (lead vocals and guitar), Zach Hammer (lead guitar and vocals) and Benje Kushins (percussion and keyboards) are a cohesive unit, firing on all their cylinders.
The tracks comprising Raise the Sun feature jangling echoing guitars, a rhythm section that can drive home a point with power or lead the way with subtle layered rhythms that are followed by tasteful yet poignant guitar licks. Trent Yaconelli provides the emotionally distinctive vocal workouts to bring their lyrics to the top of your mind while you are listening. The best part is the fact that you can understand every word, what an unexpected bonus!
This is not overproduced pop rock; they still have an alternative rootsy feel to their general sound. On their CD Baby page it is noted that if you like U2 (listen to the guitar parts), The Foo Fighters and The Fray you will enjoy Five A.M. That correlation is a fair representation of their sound.
This is an all around listening experience for any age. There are no inappropriate lyrics and the music is very appealing, Five A.M. offers everything to a perspective listener. “Lipstick” is my favorite track, lyrically. I love it when Yaconelli sings “I just want your lipstick on my heart,” instead of being predictable and saying “on my lips,” he invites you to think how deep emotionally this person the song is dedicated to has affected him. Or “Sunshine” offers lines like “In the morning when I get up, the rain won’t stop inside my head,” but then as the song develops the sun become more thematic and important, making the rain go away.
The lead off track has a lot of impact upon first listen and it placed as the first track for a reason. It becomes more thought provoking when you watch the bonus video for the song, and it ties in nicely. The video is very interesting about a man walking and crawling through the streets of the city with a TV chained to the front of him. It implies that forgetting the girl that went away will be impossible and everywhere he goes there are images to remind him of his lost love.
Five A.M. have reached a creative zenith on Raise the Sun and I am sure they will garner plenty of attention from listeners and press alike.”
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck