Christian rock denial progresses in several stages, beginning with the blunt rebuff (“We’re not Christian; we just sing about Jesus”) and ending with the blatant sellout (“We loved Jesus once, but now we sing about strippers”). Luna Halo’s Christian rock denial has already passed both of these stages and has evolved into a more sophisticated form: rejection through emo.

Brian Merlos
No irony, little talent, concise marketing. (COURTESY OF COLUMBIA)

Originally signed to Christian music label Sparrow Records, Luna Halo’s first full-length album, Shimmer, received an almost-perfect rating from the Christian music review site jesusfreakhideout.com (seriously, real Web address). The website originally praised Luna Halo for being an “answer to prayers for good, new solid artists,” but now the site’s description of the band contains a bright red disclaimer fenced in by gratuitous “read me” asterisks: “The band has been exercising behavior . that will likely offend fans (of) . ‘Christian music’ . Discretion is advised.”

A simple Google Image Search will tell you the rest. Emo mullets abound. Mascara flows from the musicians’ eyes. The cover art depicts a hemorrhaging heart crowned with a halo. Popping the album into the stereo, it’s exactly the same story. “You grow your hair to hide your face,” the lead singer laments in “The Big Escape.” He sings about “pills,” rhyming, “and I love it but I hate it” in “Medicate.” He even says “damn” in “Fool,” which is probably what caused the website’s urgent warning.

Musically, the band is neatly packaged and ready to go for a day in the mall with its 14-year-old target audience. It’s equipped with slick production, massive guitars, three-note guitar solos and energetic-but-unoriginal rhythms. The lead singer has a vocal range that spans from low nasal to high screeching nasal, and a habit of adding a “C’mon!” or two when there’s nothing better to say (“C’mon! C’mon! I think you’re so special!” the singer screams in the chorus of “Kings & Queens”). He obviously feels obliged to say something, or else the album wouldn’t contain lyrics like “you were made from alien hands” or “your tongue is where your heart should be.”

Despite these observations, there is sellable quality to the music. The music is tolerable and even catchy when you’re not paying attention to it (listening while jogging, for example). The band knows how to write audibly pleasing guitar parts, and when all you need is noise to keep your mind minimally engaged, Luna’s album works for the most part.

The album’s generic brand of gloominess feeds its hungry emo-conscious consumers (and there are a lot of them – the band’s MySpace page has 14,000 friends and counting). Luna Halo hasn’t made its mark on the music industry, and its tunes are utterly indistinguishable from the next mascara band.

Rating: 1.5/5

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