Sixpence None The Richer – Divine Discontent

Sixpence None The Richer - Divine DiscontentThe band’s final group effort before going their separate ways to new
careers, Sixpence None The Richer’s swan song isn’t one of those farewell albums that makes you feel like you understand perfectly well why they’re calling it a day. Divine Discontent is an example of the best you can hope to do with a farewell album: the listener is still likely to want more when the show’s over.

“Breathe My Name”, a twitchy song with quirky chorus harmonies, exemplifies what I miss about Sixpence already – the combination of Matt Slocum’s songwriting and guitar work and Leigh Nash’s voice is a winner when the band is firing on all cylinders.

The cover of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” surprised me quite a bit. I’ve heard everything from choral interpretations to reggae covers of it before, and it’s a testament to the power of the original song as written that it stands up to (nearly) every permutation I’ve heard it put through. This is one of the better covers I’ve heard, transforming into a guitar-based number without the trademark organ solo of the original. It’s also interesting to hear a female vocalist do the song.

Even more surprising is the hard-hitting “Paralyzed”, which seems almost like something one would expect the Cardigans to do. Lyrically, it goes a little bit outside of what one would expect from a Christian band with crossover success. There’s nothing in the song that just shocks me speechless or offends me, I just wasn’t expecting to hear it from these guys. I’m really pleased to hear impassioned, non-cookie-cutter anti-war lyrics from a Christian group, even if they’re pre-Iraq War.

4 out of 4Ironically for an album that includes a cover of “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, a paraphrase of a passage that I remember reading in a book about Crowded House springs to mind: Divine Discontent doesn’t sound like a band that’s on its way out, but a band proving it’s fighting to live. That certainly seems like an apt description for Sixpence None The Richer’s final studio album.

Order this CD

  1. Breathe Your Name (3:56)
  2. Tonight (3:52)
  3. Down And Out Of Time (3:28)
  4. Don’t Dream It’s Over (4:03)
  5. Waiting On The Sun (2:54)
  6. Still Burning (4:02)
  7. Melody Of You (4:50)
  8. Paralyzed (3:54)
  9. I’ve Been Waiting (4:19)
  10. Eyes Wide Open (3:28)
  11. Dizzy (6:36)
  12. Tension Is A Passing Note (3:30)
  13. A Million Parachutes (6:19)

Released by: Reprise
Release date: 2002
Total running time: 55:11

Sixpence None The Richer

Sixpence None The RicherYep, it’s the “Kiss Me” band. Thanks to heavy MTV rotation of a song which was played on Dawson’s Creek, Sixpence None The Richer’s 1997 album suddenly wound up being a hot commodity – which is a good thing, since their self-titled CD didn’t deserve the trip into obscurity that it initially took.

The real commodity that keeps Sixpence afloat is guitarist/cellist Matt Slocum’s accessible songwriting. Though the songs on this CD frequently have complex and interesting arrangements, they’re never so thick with instrumentation that you can’t get to the heart of the song. Lead singer Leigh Nash has an appealing voice, always sounding very young – and in some cases, that’s a good thing. “Kiss Me”, though it has now gone from obscurity to having spent a year being overexposed on radio and MTV, is a sweet, innocent song, and just wouldn’t have worked without Nash’s youthful vocal style.

4 out of 4Oft-overlooked album tracks include “We Have Forgotten” and my personal favorite, “Sister, Mother”. And speaking of well-worn radio staples, “There She Goes” is included on this CD, though in most early pressings it’s an unlisted track. More recent pressings have added that song – which became the album’s next big single – to the track list.

Order this CD

  1. We Have Forgotten (5:07)
  2. Anything (4:50)
  3. The Waiting Room (5:15)
  4. Kiss Me (3:30)
  5. Easy To Ignore (3:53)
  6. Peudo Escribir (3:46)
  7. I Can’t Catch You (4:12)
  8. The Lines Of My Earth (4:26)
  9. Sister, Mother (3:06)
  10. I Won’t Stay Long (2:15)
  11. Love (3:56)
  12. Moving On (3:56)
  13. There She Goes (3:13)

Released by: Squint
Release date: 1997
Total running time: 50:53