The Architects' Keys to the Building
shifts jarringly from gospel to gritty rock like a Sunday service spent remembering Saturday night at the saloon. On the bar-band numbers, the riffs recall John Mellencamp and the drumbeats deliver more solid thumps than a workbench-intensive carpenters convention. Unconcerned with subtlety, the secular songs repeat phrases until singing along becomes almost involuntary, then end with indulgent flourishes. Singer Brandon Phillips' voice soars during the rowdier tunes, but he overtestifies and stretches his syllables during the Architects' hammier hymns. Even a full choir can't save faux soul, and "Walkin' Talkin' Jesus" recalls the Black Crowes at their most deluded. The group perfects its classic-rock-of-ages sound on "Day of My Relief," which combines parochial vocals with a lighter-lofting power-ballad melody.