Unlike other students, when Ryan Ellington ditched classes, it wasn’t to watch television or hang out with friends. It was to make an album. People In Repair is the product of those missed classes. The album is a Christian rock one, with a little mixture of folk and alternative. For those who have a misconception about Christian rock albums being cheesy or dull, they should listen to People In Repair. The album is not just an album about loving God and Jesus, but an album about healing.
People In Repair takes a narrative journey. The album is about a man filled with spite and hate, but then later he finds a spiritual awakening. The first half of the album feels more universal. The first four songs don’t necessarily feel like they are about Christianity, but about global emotions. However, in the latter part of the album, it becomes clear that this is a Christian rock album. In the second half of People In Repair, Ellington infuses Bible stories to help paint the picture of this man’s new understanding on life. Both halves of the album work as separated smaller albums, and as it is now as two halves of the journey.
The standout track on the first half is “Ghosts and Demons,” because it feels like the most poetic song on the album. The song discusses the sins of men. “Stay With Me” has enough lyrical diversity that the meaning is relevant for various issues. “Drops of Glass” is one of the more emotionally impactful songs, because it’s more stripped and feels acoustic, and freer than other songs. Like many of the songs in the second half of People In Repair, the song takes bible stories and infuses them into the lyrics to create new imagery. “Punctured Wrists” is one of the more fun songs on the album, because it naturally incites a call and response tone. This gives it a big performance value. It’s a song that forces crowds to get involved.
The biggest strength of People in Repair is Ellington’s vocals. They are haunting. Their tone mimics that of 80’s rock singers, which makes some of the songs all the more compelling.
Overall People in Repair works because it’s a complex album about a complicated subject matter. People may never agree on religion, but I think many will agree that this album is worth a listen.
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