Artist/ Band: Salem Hill
Title: Pennies In The Karma Jar
Label: The Lazarus Group
Year of Release: 2010
Offical Artist/ Band Link

The Review:

It’s been 5 years since Salem Hill has released an album, but in 2010 they released their 8th studio album, Pennies in the Karma Jar. This time around most of the songs are shorter, than on the previous two releases, with a few exceptions. The new album seems to have the characteristics of their past albums but in a forward thinking fashion. The line-up for this album remains the same with Carl Groves (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Michael Dearing (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Patrick Henry (vocals, bass) and Kevin Thompson (vocals, drums).

Before I continue, I must stress that there are strong Christian lyrics on this album but not enough to take away from the music. I’d say it’s on par lyrically with most of Neal Morse’s solo albums since Testimony. So if you’re not comfortable with religious lyrics, then I suggest you look elsewhere. Those of you that don’t mind, can expect an album filled with wonderful hooks and catchy moments along side some more complex instrumentation.

One of the highlights of this album, for me, structurally is the longest track “The Day Is Yours” (13:59). I would rank it high along side some of the other epics in the Salem Hill catalog. Another favorite is the last track “Glimpses” (6:03), which the harmonies remind me of the Robbery Of Murder. It’s basically a strong ballad, again with some strong Christian lyrics. It should be noted that the lyrics aren't the preachy kind.

Pennies in the Karma Jar is one of those albums that requires several listening to fully appreciate it’s beauty. While not as epic as their last album, Mimi’s Magic Moment, there’s a sense of grandeur here. I feel that this album should be judged on it’ own merits rather than comparing it to their past glories. With Pennies In The Karma jar, they forge onward, just as a progressive rock band should. If you can get past the religious lyrics, as I did, then you’ll see how important of an album it is. I’d strongly recommend Pennies In The Karma Jar as one of the better albums of 2010.

Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on December 26th, 2010


01. Carry Me (3:56)
02. My Gift To You (7:54)
03. Fine (6:05)
04. Stormclouds In Wonderland (4:13)
05. This Lump (7:28)
06. Why Did You Make Me (6:34)
07. The Horror Of Fearlessness (5:38)
08. The Day Is Yours (13:59)
09. Glimpses (6:03)

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