Until I listened to this CD, although I had heard of Stellar Kart, I had never actually heard them, so I didn’t really know what to expect. The band consists of four guys, Adam, Cody, Jordan and Brian, and the album art suggests they are into surfing. On the basis of this album, it would not be unreal to expect them to be surfing on the wave of success in the near future.
The band have a rock/pop sound, and play their songs with a real energy and passion. The songs are almost all extremely lively, and very sing-a-long-able, with catchy tunes and powerful lyrics.
They sing on the opening song Innocent “What’s wrong with being different?” however, I would same that there are similarities between them and the earlier Delirious? Material, plus also Casting Crowns. In particular the song Jesus Loves You could almost be a follow up to Prayer For a Friend by Casting Crowns. In Jesus Loves You the band are trying to come to terms with their failure to reach out to a friend, despite their best efforts. It is a very passionate song, and one that most people will be able to relate to, especially the lines “And I have wasted many chances to prove to you a faith that lives inside. I’m praying there will be a breakthrough, ‘Cause I can’t be the one to save you, God knows how many times I’ve tried.”
The highlight of Expect the Unexpected for me is the song Shine like the Stars, which challenges the listener not to hide their faith, or compromise it to satisfy “The dying part of you”, but to shine brightly for Christ, something that can be a real struggle. The chorus on this song appears to draw on the passage in Philippians where Paul urges us to “shine like stars in the universe”.
There is some great guitar playing evident on Expect the Unexpected, and lyrics that I believe God is speaking through (in particular the songs Shine like the Stars, Pray and Innocent). However this is a very short album, just over half an hour long, and my one main complaint is that it is too short – I reached the end and had a desire for more. Maybe that’s a good think though, as some bands have a tendency to repeat chorus to much and songs can end up getting repetitive. But not here. Everything is fresh, powerful, and there are even a few songs which are love songs between singer and God that could be shared with non-Christian friends to introduce them to the band without being overly religious (something I feel the Christian music industry should do more to spread the message to non-Christians – have some songs that draw them in, then they will hear the Christian message through the rest of the album).
All the songs on the album are more geared towards performance than worship, and it is unlikely that you could use any in a Church setting for worship, but in the private environment songs like Automatic, Shine like the Stars and Eyes can be sung along to as personal worship, and if you focus carefully on the lyrics you probably will be challenged by some of the songs, such as Shine like the Stars (Are you conforming to the world) and Automatic (Do you love God like it is automatic?), which is definitely a good thing.
The last couple of songs on the album, I Give Up and Letters are, I feel, the weakest songs on the album, and give a slightly poor finish to what is otherwise a pretty great album.
Overall I would give this album 8.9/10
Buy Album (Amazon £11.99 – out Monday April 28th)