Seems like ages ago now, but the first time I saw Cool Hand Luke at was Cornerstone Florida in 2007. When I caught wind of bands like Hopesfall, the logical progression – at that time, anyway – was to a band like Cool Hand Luke.
Since then, my religious affiliations and beliefs have… fluctuated to say the least. But, in the same light, that doesn’t mean that I can’t listen to this type of music anymore, or that I appreciate it less.
Here’s what I wrote early in this project about the band’s 5th studio release, The Sleeping House:
“Cool Hand Luke, the baby of Mark Nicks, used to play post-hardcore music and morphed over time into a Copeland-esque band that plays slow, ambient, piano-driven jams. And though all of their discography is steeped in traditional Judeo-Christian values in lyrical content and style (sort of worship songs), you don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate these songs.”
I stand by my statement. Of Man, officially the last Cool Hand Luke release under that name, is a beautiful and moving record, especially if you identify with the Christianity. Even if you don’t, this could be the album that bends the boundaries for you – steeped somewhere in between thematically heavy, piano-led indie rock and soulful worship.
Of any of the Cool Hand Luke releases, this is my favorite. At the end of this band, it was just Mark Nicks at a piano and at times behind the drums. In this way, it feels like the strongest and most narrow idea-wise. His creative vision overruled any potential input from other bandmates, which I think strengthened the writing and recording process.
Into it, and I’d say if you don’t identify with Christianity, give it a listen and see if it changes your mind about “Christian music.”
From Of Man, this is “His Eyes” –
Standout tracks: “Hoshana,” “Are You Coming?” and “I Remember”
Weakest track: “Not the End, Not the End”
RIYL: Worship music. Preson Phillips, Ascend the Hill.