Personnel: Samuel Hancock (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Cody Clark (guitar, keyboards); Dusty Jakubik (bass guitar); Aaron Mathew (drums, percussion).
Recording information: BeBrilliant; FabMusic, Franklin, TN; The Bomb Shelter; Townsend Sound.
Photographer: Lee Steffen .
Were it not for the faith-based lyrical content and the insignia for well-respected Christian label Sparrow on the album's artwork, Luminate's second full-length could easily fall into the heavily populated middle ground that rests between indie and AOR. That region of the musical world where bands like Keane and Coldplay have found massive commercial success. In all reality, that makes this Texas-based group feel a little calculated in its efforts, bobbing along with the tide of much of the CCM pack. Many of the tracks on Welcome to Daylight are thick with mostly unnecessary post-production frills. Sam Hancock's vocals are chopped and buffed up on "Never Give Up," electronic intrusions are inserted to try and bolster threadbare musical ideas, and the whole album gives off a sheen of having been run through a laminating machine. The shininess of the album wouldn't be so glaring were it not for those moments when a few wrinkles appear. Until the movie-soundtrack string section pops up, you can actually hear a shaky bit of emotion in Hancock's voice on "Battle for Peace," and their plea to let God into a troubled marriage, "Heal This Home," is an appealing, driving rocker relatively free of synth washes and ProTools aftereffects. But until some wise producer or band in the Christian world unplugs the iMac and spools up a reel of actual recording tape in an effort to bring bands like Luminate a few steps away from a radio-ready sound, songs like those are just going to lost in the digital quagmire. ~ Robert Ham