Waking Ashland delves into relationships with the other/God from the very beginning of their album, Composure, and does not let up. InI Am For You, the I AM rises up to love and save…againstThe comfort we create to prove we’re something, we’re starving/Screaming in the night because you want answers from the one/And there’s hope again. The one is answering in the refrain, against the cold comfort in this song, and against theShades of Grey that the singer has fought through in the opening track.


Waking Ashland: Composure
(2005) Music Review

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MUSIC REVIEWS INDEX

This page was created on June 8, 2005
This page was last updated on June 8, 2005

DETAILS

1. Shades of Grey
2. I Am for You
3. Rumors
4. Edinger
5. October Skies
6. Let Go
7. Hands on Deck
8. Long Shot
9. Silhouettes
10. Same Problem
11. Medication
12. Overjoyed
13. Sing Me to Sleep

CD INFO
CD info
Title: Composure
Artist
: Waking Ashland

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REVIEW BY
JACOB SAHMS

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11.jpg (39 K)Waking Ashland delves into relationships with the other/God from the very beginning of their album, Composure, and does not let up. InI Am For You, the I AM rises up to love and save…againstThe comfort we create to prove we’re something, we’re starving/Screaming in the night because you want answers from the one/And there’s hope again. The one is answering in the refrain, against the cold comfort in this song, and against theShades of Grey that the singer has fought through in the opening track.

15.jpg (186 K)InRumors, the singer crossed the desert and fights through the sea, knowing that the other is calling.I was afraid that you would never come alive/There for me when I was scared of you/You were there for me when I wasn’t there for you, Ashland sings. True for the apostle Peter having denied his Jesus and then waits for Him to rise three days later, unwilling to hold onto false hope. True for the believer who doubts and yet believes. We doubt, we are scared, and yet we know that looking back, Jesus was always present.

20.jpg (39 K)WhileEdinger expresses the confusion of fate, mistakes, and choices, the chorus ofOctober Skies breaks through into the clear:And I, I’ve been running to nowhere/You’re nowhere, you’re nowhere/And I, I feel something getting closer/Come clearer, come clearer.Let Go echoes more of the same, possibly with the view of Nicodemus, the Jew who wanted to learn what Jesus was saying but who struggled to reconcile it with what he knew already. The questioning of one who longs to know but who does not quite understand is painfully relevant to Ashland and rings true in the day-to-day life of anyone who values the heart and the mind.

32.JPG (104 K)Still off the fresh reminders,Hands On Deck cries out for someone to right a sinking ship:I need a miracle to save me from this/And I need the angels to all pray for me/I can’t believe you…asanother worry breaks right through/And indecision bleeds me dry. Faith is not completely mental but is emotional and experiential as well (it is tough to cope with individually sometimes!)—it requires the Other to break through our existence and for reality to be transcended.

10.jpg (76 K)Relying on that Other’s breaking through,Long Shot andSilhouettes share the beauty of relaxing in that realization and the luxury of God’s patience with our mistakes. Doubt and acceptance are a roller coaster ride though:Same Problem andMedication raise worries that God/other will leave Ashland behind because of recurring mistakes. The rise up again of hope inOverjoyed expresses the stability and consistency of God to provide that love and overcome doubts no matter what.

The Composure album closes withSing Me To Sleep as the band sings a ‘never be alone’ theme:Who are you, what do you want?/I’ll claim nothing/When you’re whispering/The truth has made its way into my head. How much we could learn from this subtle understanding: God whispers and we still hear. If only our ‘sharing the gospel’ with others would be done in a loving whisper, rather than a pounding roar. God can make His point with a whisper—why can’t we?

BIO

Jonathan Jones - Vocals + Piano
Ryan Lallier - Guitar + Vocals
Thomas Lee - Drums
Andrew Grosse - Bass

Biography

Waking Ashland, a band formed during the re-emergence of independent rock, merges the energy of artists like Jimmy Eat World and Weezer with the songwriting craft of Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson to create something both original and beautiful.

“Since I grew up playing piano, I always wanted to integrate the emotion of the piano-based singer/songwriters like Elton John and Billy Joel with the edginess of bands like the Pixies and Husker Du explains lead vocalist/keyboardist Jonathan Jones.

“And yet, ironically, we do not sound anything like our influences. They merely served as emotional guides to help us integrate keyboards into our music without sacrificing the sonic impact of the guitars.

Formed in November 2003, the San Diego-based Waking Ashland began to take shape after Jonathan Jones met co-founding members Ryan Lallier and Thomas Lee at college and began recording their promising debut EP,I Am For You. The EP not only received critical acclaim, but went on to sell over 10,000 copies, without retail distribution apart from shows and the band’s website.

In 2004, the addition of Andrew Grosse on bass completed the line-up. The group’s first real tour--a spring headlining run—was followed almost immediately with a July-August stint on the Vans Warped Tour and non-stop touring thereafter.

“The only touring break we have taken was to record our first album. Says Jones,The constant touring stems from our philosophy that real bands are created on the road, not in the studio.

Nonetheless, the group did take December 2004 off to record their full-length debut Composure, released May 10th on Tooth & Nail Records. Composure is a potent dose of emotionally-driven guitar rock fused with piano-based rhythms. Recorded at Water Music Studios with producer Lou Giordano (Ataris, Taking Back Sunday), the album showcases each of the genuine components that have made Waking Ashland so appealing from the start.

“We chose Lou not only because of his recent successes, but because of his earlier work with bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Sugar, Jones explains.From the start Lou liked our natural sound and his only goal was to enhance it and capture it.

Giordano’s touch is evident, as the album’s diverse dynamics range from the atmospheric opening of crisp piano and vocals onShades Of Grey to the infectious chorus ofI Am For You and the deeply adorned orchestral arrangement ofSing Me To Sleep.

Jones concludes,For us, it is all about songwriting and presentation. How can we write songs to the best of our ability and present them in the most engaging way possible. It is not an easy task. We are a young band. We’re just getting started.

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