Oertli brings mix to Christian pop

3/15/2006

Danny Oertli: Everything In Between

 

Review by Steve Morley

UMC.org

Danny Oertli has already developed into a promising songwriter and performer despite his relative anonymity.

His Everything in Between CD reveals a grasp of both unrestrained rock and tenderhearted pop. If this diversity sometimes results in a slightly uneasy duality, it also brings sorely needed rock sonics and attitude to the Christian pop genre. By preserving musical integrity on the respective song styles he tackles here, Oertli and producer Jason Burkum manage to offer something for nearly everyone without doling out a homogenized smoothie.

Oertli offers worship fare on both sides of the musical spectrum — You Are Glory maintains a rocking reverence, while Worship You With Tears is congregation-worthy yet sufficiently personal to stand on its own as solid acoustic pop. Fight for Me is a rhythmic but restrained mid-tempo rocker smeared with dark electric piano and a sandpapery guitar that wails unashamedly to underscore King David-sized expressions of helplessness before the Lord.

The most immediate pleasures emerge in the straight-ahead guitar slingers, songs that combine Bryan Adams-esque rock smarts with a dose of sweetener, evoking the well-crafted abandon of underappreciated The Rembrandts. I See God in You bends some genre rules. Over a skittering studio-treated rhythm track, Oertli sings about his spiritually-driven attraction to a young woman, and does so with an unusually believable, non-cheesy wholesomeness.

Oertli’s lyrics rely a bit heavily on time-tested contrivances. Oertli’s songs of joy, praise and mercy on Everything in Between comprise a buffet sufficient to satisfy most any appetite — the sweet tooth included.

Morley is a freelance music journalist living in College Grove, Tenn.