Desire Like Dynamite
Sandra McCracken’s perceptive, emotionally resonant music takes a leap forward on Desire Like Dynamite. The Nashville-based singer/songwriter delves into themes of Christian faith with a rare sensitivity and intelligence, inviting comparisons with the likes of Patty Griffin and Jonatha Brooke. Her latest album’s sonic approach is far-ranging, playing warm acoustic guitars against quirky techno sounds, tasty horn embellishments, and unexpected rhythms. McCracken’s vocals convey a melancholy sweetness with a hint of wry, Aimee Mann–like world-weariness as she parses the struggles of the ordinary believer. From the jittery marching tempo of “Go” to the ‘50s-accented waltz time of “Gridlock” and the wistful folk balladry of “Fall on Me" (a duet with husband Derek Webb), the album goes for a rich, slightly downbeat sound that reflects the lyrics' thoughtful content. Songs like “Hourglass” and “First Things First” ask deep spiritual questions without descending into preachiness. “Sweet Amelia” celebrates a child's adoption with an achingly joyful tune. McCracken’s vividly poetic lyrics and finely wrought melodic sense are consistently in evidence.