In Search of a Unified Theory
Ever catch yourself in the middle of an inconsistency? Violently protesting intolerance? Talking about poverty while sporting the latest sweatshop-made fashions? Screaming for peace and understanding? We talk big, dream even bigger, but what does real life look like? There's got to be something more, something better, something truer. We can no longer bitch and moan about how politics and religion and corporations have failed us. We must be the change we want in the world. We are the ones... Husband and wife team, Ryan and Holly Sharp, who comprise The Cobalt Season, attempt to explore this publicly...and much else. Some recent reviews... Brian McLaren - "I just got back from Africa and have been listening to In Search of a Unified Theory nonstop for a couple days. I'm totally blown away. I really liked But I Tell You, but this one just soars. The lyrics are powerful. The songs themselves are so strong, so well structured. The vocals are perfect. And the arrangements are completely amazing. I thought of several of my favorite bands - Innocence Mission, the Weepies, and Sigur Rós. This CD should win a bunch of awards. Thanks for making it, man!" Bob Carlton - "In this glorious work, the Sharps combine to do what art is meant to do-unlock all the senses, let out the imagination, unleash anguish & hope, tease out a grove that sneaks up on your head-make you want to dance and protest and make love. That's what music is for, right?" Mark Van Steenwyk - "The album is a soul-searching pilgrimage. And here I think a comparison with Rich Mullins-at least the spirit of his music-is appropriate. Rich Mullins pursued Jesus with unabashed spiritual intensity. And I think the same is true of the Cobalt Season. This album-this musical pilgrimage-is filled with pain and ambiguity and uncertainty. The Cobalt Season are minstrels for the spiritually disenfranchised. It is a musical exploration of the via purgativa. It affirms the shadow side of life in a way that I wish Rich Mullins had in his life. This album is an exercise in pursuing Christ, but failing...yet still yearning...In a way, this album is the spiritual soundtrack for the emerging church." Mark Scandrette - "In Search of a Unified Theory is, I believe, a coming of age album for Ryan, in which he settles into a more mature voice musically and spiritually. The addition of Dan Dixon's Eno-esque arrangements and instrumentation add sonic complexity, nuance and added intrigue to Ryan's singer-song writing and near tearful croonings. It is also more of a piano album than previous releases...with banjo and chimes added by Dixon. In Search of a Unified Theory is a hopeful audio companion for anyone striving to live with greater intentionality, conscience courage within the ambiguities of human fraility." Michael Toy - "there is a 'bone weary' character about this album. The songs come from a person who's run out of energy to scream, but not out of the energy to hope and to love. In some ways the emotional range is narrower than their last album. But at the same time, this album seems to go deeper, if we could measure such things...on a quest for the things beneath things, the "unified theory", these songs search for connections, for rhyme and for strange symmetry. Careful Not to Draw Your Maps in Pen and Ink, one song warns the listener, because the journey is going to require some back tracking and erasing of borders and re-naming of mountain ranges...the most important border this album erases is the one between protest and progress. Somehow the angry voice of American Empire in the last album is no longer trying to find an imaginary country which isn't screwed up, but instead trying to imagine a life which isn't screwed up. It's a beautiful search, and a beautiful album." Ryan Wissink - "Ryan and Holly Sharp have done it again. There are few albums that I have heard that are as raw sounding as this one. You would swear they are right there in your living room. The album is natural, something very hard to find these days. This album is as musically creative as it is beautify recorded. Ryan's lyrics are always deep. If you enjoy folk...even if you don't...you will dig In Search of a Unified Theory. A definite '10'...thumbs up. Shoot if I was a record company I would have signed him 7 years ago." Damien O'Farrell - "Several tracks continue to make my heart leap (or maybe sink...it feels the same to me) inside my chest and bring forth streams of tears. The other day, I was listening to it in my car and almost had to pull over. Ryan is a prophet who's words, I think, mean much more once you catch up to his ideas. There's been several times that I'll have a thought, or an experience, or read something, and then be listening to Ryan's stuff thinking... that's what he meant... I wonder if he knew that he meant that? Bono, in my opinion, is the same way." Josh Brown - "In Search of a Unified Theory as a whole feels much deeper and more developed than his previous works. The songs feel "fuller" and "rounder" musically. The lyrics even seem more "grown-up"...it sort of steps away from the cliche of indie-folk and moves into a deeper area. In a market where everything sounds and feels the same and where the majority of the voices drivel away about lost romances . . . a voice like The Cobalt Season carries with it a certain weight. Not only prophetically critiquing the American Dream but creatively imagining more hopeful alternatives. It's hard to find an album that can do either of the two very well. Let alone do both at the same time." Will Samson - "In Search of a Unified Theory is a more mellow offering, but don't be fooled - this is a powerful album. It is the fourth album from the group and it shows a new kind of maturity that I love...the album still expresses plenty of angst, [but] seems to at least occupy a liminal space that is more hopeful. It provides a brilliant painting of life in between, and one that should connect with those engaging with emerging spirituality. But beyond the zeitgeist, this is just really good music." Chris Marlow - "Ryan is a master storyteller that never stops asking questions. This album is raw, gritty and spiritual. A mixture of anger, frustration, love and hope. Truthfully I feel like I'm hanging in a living room having a conversation with Ryan and Holly; discussing issues that are frustrating and hard to grasp. Yet these questions need to be asked, the story needs to be told. This album will also bring conviction to your soul and hope to your heart. Each song is a well crafted narrative that takes you on a spirtual pilgrimage." Dan Gregory - "Listening to their songs, raw with frustration, longing and hope, driven by piano and guitar sprinkled with strings and chimes reminds me that there are still some people out there who are living honestly. This album is inspiring." Vapor & Lies - "These are people who are familiar with pain, people who struggle with the difficulties of life. The genuine passion of the artists bleeds through to every aspect of their music, making it at times haunting and heartbreaking. A deep longing pervades the pathos of In Search of a Unified Theory."