Once upon a time, there was a brother-sister duo called LaRue. They were a bit on the alternative side of CCM, they made a couple of albums, and then they disappeared — like many alterna-pop duos have done. Now, Phillip LaRue has returned to music, with a much different sound. The alternative edge is gone, the CCM is gone. All that is left is some good acoustic indie music that fits right in with the “I’m not part of the Christian music industry, so buy my record” scene.
The lyrics in this CD seem to be very casual, almost an “Oh, look – here’s a microphone and a guitar, I think I’ll make up a song. OH, could you hit Record for me?” kind of attitude (especially on “Don’t Be Deceived”). Of course, that’s the style in so much of indie pop today, and it doesn’t completely infect the CD, so I can deal with it on a few songs. At times, it really sounds like Phillip misses his sister; you really get the feeling that some of the songs would be much stronger with another vocalist involved. That is understandable, and the stronger songs on the disc (“Chasing Daylight,” “Why?” “Running So Long”) give us a glimpse of what he is really capable of on his own. Once Phillip gains confidence in his abilities as a solo artist, he will be releasing some outstanding music.
“Chasing the Daylight”: Nice upbeat first song, fits the rest of the album well. Great message about our reliance on God (“And I don’t feel the pain/When you’re by my side”). Great vocal strength without being over the top – this is probably my favorite song on the disc.
“Why”: my other favorite track. LaRue asks the eternal question “Why can’t we believe in something we can’t see, when the evidence is all around us?” This is a song that comes right out and worships God, praising Him for His sovereignty in creation even as it indicts us for our lack of belief.
This isn’t a praise and worship disc. You could give this to any indie hipster and they’d be intrigued; there’s nothing overtly Christian about it. But once you hear the lyrics, and really pay attention to them, you hear God in every track. And that, to me, is what Christian music is about, more than any “Jesus per minute” measure that we might throw out. Let The Road Pave Itself isn’t the rocker that I would normally listen to, but at the very least it’s earned a place on my iPod as a way to take the edge off, to “be still and know that I am God.” Reflection and introspection are good things, after all, and ultimately that is what Phillip LaRue encourages us to do on this album.