3. Worst Enemy
4. Say Hello
5. Bleeding Lies
6. Fight to Win
8. The River
9. Some Thing Never Change
In the last five years there have been a number of big name bands making changes in the lead singer department. Obvious standouts are the Newsboys, riving DC Talker Michael Tait’s career and the reforming of Audio Adrenaline with another of the DC Talk trio. Lost in all the changes was the change made at the front of Christian Rock band Decyfer Down, who in 2009 brought in front man TJ Harris to fill the shoes left by former vocalist/bassist Caleb Oliver. Most fans may not even have known the change was made because the two sound so similar, that is evident by the Harris’s debut with the band on their third studio album Scarecrow.
Musically Scarecrow is what you would expect from the hard rock band. It’s the same dirty grunge guitars done only as Decyfer Down can do them. They do branch out a little bit on songs like “Westboro” and the power rock opener “Memory” but the majority of the album may remind listeners too much of previous outings. “Bleeding Lies” does standout as an amazing piece of vocal work from Harris. Who steps from behind his lower range to add another octave to his vocals.
Music aside, it is vocally where this album shines as the band seeks to focus on building up the community by encouraging Christians to truly be a community. Tracks like “Say Hello” and the title cut, “Scarecrow” really do a good job of bringing this theme out. “The River” and “So In Love” will stand out as very different both lyrically and stylistically for Decyfer Down. Though the latter may remind fans too much of former ballads.
One track that the album could have done without is “Westboro.” Harris sings: “Just go back to Westboro baby, where they love to hate, Just go back to Westboro baby, devil said you could stay, and Hell is just the same.” As much as some of us may agree with the sediment towards Westboro Baptist Church and Fred Phelps the song does very little to encourage community, if anything it has the potential to be just as divisive in the church as the church with which it shares a name.
All in all Scarecrow could have been a lot better considering the bands track record. It will be interesting to see where TJ Harris and the band go from here, but you may hold off on buying this album in its entirety.