There's nothing overtly Christian about the songs on No Ordinary People, the debut of local trio Schaeffer. But the search for direction and a sense of meaning are common themes for the brothers Rossi throughout , and their crisp, firmly melodic pop is well in line with CCM sensation Jeremy Camp or crossover acts like Switchfoot. Schaeffer's happy to obscure the line between praise and pop music, to apply the tenets of one to the other; their songs might be about big JC, but they're also applicable to the girl next door. Still, whoever they're singing about, the slickness factor on People is way too high. "Alive," "Man in Tension" and, especially, "Last Time" ("...'Cause you don't love Him/The way you loved Him/the last time ...") ride on steady bass lines, and distortion that's effective in a flat, Coldplay sort of way. But it's entirely too clean, and Bryon Rossi's vocals, though impressive, never rise above his indoor voice. (The additional programming and keyboards of producer Stephen Leiweke numb the music even further.) "Alright" builds some atmosphere with its open-road longing, and the acoustic plaint of "Truth" is a nice touch. But ultimately Schaeffer's debut is a well-meaning snooze.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.