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Jonah 33 brings struggle, insight and talent to a disc that hurls challenges at believers, nonbelievers and society in general.

“The Strangest Day,” the band’s sophomore release, features driving rock and the sometimes raspy, sometimes snarling and sometimes comforting voice of Vince Lichlyter. Much of the disc’s content is colored by the struggle with drugs that nearly consumed Lichlyter as a teenager and his joy at being saved from those depths.

“This Is It” urges Christians to take their faith seriously and focus on glorifying God, instead of self. The assertive alt-rock song has become the disc’s first radio hit.

The blistering “Tell Me” prods nonbelievers, asking why they are so judgmental and what they gain by opposing God. However, Jonah 33 isn’t blind to problems among believers. “The Strangest Day” is mellower in tone but the challenge is just as sharp in its plea for believers to quit living like they were comatose.

Other highlights include “Desensitized,” in which wailing guitars and growling vocals assail how “images crawl upon my for good and making it obscene.” The brooding alt-rock “Burning Clean” focuses on repentance and hope as it asks God to “burn me clean from everything I used to be.” And “Father’s Song” takes aim at absentee dads, asking, “Where are the men that God gave the responsibility to lead?”

The band’s name is a reference to Jonah 3:3, in which the reluctant prophet finally decided to obey God and complete his mission. Let’s hope that Jonah 33 has many more missions to tackle.

On the Web:

Pleasant praiseCaedmon’s Call follows its challenging world-music project with a return to its praise-music roots in “In the Company of Angles II: The World Will Sing.”

It’s a disc that overflows with joy, presented with folk and pop accents. “Great and Mighty” offers upbeat praise and “Draw Me Nearer” is slow and comfortable as it explores God’s compassion and love. “Sing His Love” is downright fun as it proclaims, “God’s own children must forever praise His name.”

As usual Danielle Young’s soft voice provides some of the disc’s highlights, this time offering the hymnlike “Be Merciful To Me” and “Rest Upon Us,” which pleads for God’s presence.

“Fellowship So Deep” offers a few glimpses at the international influences that drove the last project, “Share the Well.” It explains how Christ died so believers could experience everlasting fellowship with him.

It’s a disc that’s packed with thankfulness, joy and praise. It’s all quite good but lacks the energy and power of “Share the Well.”

On the Web:

Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry.

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