SirTheory’s Treatise on Life

(opinions on just about anything)

Jars of Clay – Live Monsters

When Jars of Clay released their self-titled debut in 1995 few people would have predicted that the band would still be going strong twelve years later. They have kept going, even as their popularity dropped from the insane fervor that drove the self-titled album to platinum sales. Yet the albums they release continue to be amazingly strong. Even a band as consistent as Jars of Clay will have a few duds in their catalog. Live Monsters is definitely a stumble and a weak way to follow-up their hit Good Monsters.Live Monsters takes seven of the songs from Good Monsters and, as can be inferred from the title, presents them in a live setting. The problem with that is that Jars of Clay doesn’t really sound any different live than they do on album. If you are actually in a crowd in a live setting this doesn’t really pose any problems. Fun will still be had. Unfortunately, when presented on album, the lack of difference makes owning both Live Monsters and Good Monsters pretty redundant.

The song that feels most different when compared to the studio version is “Oh My God.” The difference can be debated, but the live version feels more steady than the studio. In the studio the song rises and falls in a more-or-less steady manner. But live it does more of a gradual climb to the eventual spine-tingling ending.

Subtleties aside, this album is a fairly classic example of how to get out of a contract. Jars of Clay has been on Essential Records from the very beginning. However, their new Christmas album, simply titled Christmas Songs, releases soon and it is fantastic. I have listened through it several times and will doubtlessly become my favorite stuff of the season. Not so surprisingly, the album releases on Grey Matters through Nettwerk Music Group.

Contract ditching or not, Live Monsters can really only be recommended to three groups of people: Those who must own everything Jars of Clay has released, those who saw the group live on this tour and want a postcard of sorts of the event, and those who did really prefer a live version of one of these songs to the studio version. Yet as much as I preferred “Oh My God” on the live album, I still wouldn’t invest my hard earned money into it. However, if you don’t have Good Monsters, I do recommend checking that album out.

October 13, 2007 Posted by | Music | , | 1 Comment