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October 13, 1997 12:00 PM

Jars of Clay

While gospel star Kirk Franklin has proven that one can soulfully hoot and holler in the House of the Lord and reap financial rewards, this Nashville foursome praises God the old-fashioned quiet way. Pious and boys-next-door sweet, they scored an MTV hit with their single “Flood” and became the first gospel act to go platinum with their first effort, 1995’s self-titled Jars of Clay. Playing it safe and (commercially) sound, the guys don’t stray far from the road already traveled on their latest disc. They frame their Beatlesque harmonies with sharp melodies and delicately strummed acoustic guitars, occasionally pepping things up with danceable rhythms (“Fade to Grey”) and fleeting psychedelic touches (“Tea and Sympathy”). But for all their wimpy goodness, they’re bold when it comes to resisting the platinum-baiting temptation to secularize their message, spouting such sentiments as “Sweet Jesus, never let me go.” Now that ought to give MTV a good jolt. (Essential/Silvertone)

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