THE PULL – Don’t Hesitate
Don’t Hesitate is the second release from the Pull, a faith-based musical group that is associated with the Solid Rock worship service at Bethel Lutheran. Some changes have taken place since the group’s first recording back in 2003, Hadda Get Up to Get Down. Guitarist Nate Rentmeester, whose jazz/fusion- influenced playing was a highlight on the first disc, is gone. The group’s main musical force, Gretchen Weller, although still with the Pull, no longer leads the Solid Rock worship service. And fourth female lead vocalist Rebecca Poulson appears on only one track. Weller remains the impetus here along with Paul Van Auken, the bassist for one of Madison’s more eclectic and talented bands, Spin Spin Coupling.
There have been plenty of positive additions as well. Ally Chambas has joined on violin and vocalist Melinda Suarez now assumes all of the drum duties. Perhaps the most notable addition is guitarist Paulie Heenan, DNA engineer, who reprises that role as well as taking on guitar duties. His presence brings a classy rock edge to the Pull’s sound on tracks like “Scarred.”
Musically, there is more variety this time around. “Time to Go” opens the disc, a bouncy, even quirky indie-rock track that incorporates some rapping. The aforementioned “Scarred” rocks hard. “Follow Me” sounds like a 70s funk and soul remake – enough to bring on JC Superstar flashbacks – and “Overcome” is a nice slice of pop rock.
Lyrically, things are earthier and less explicit; the songs are never preachy or overly sunny. There is a real-world sentiment now that gives the Pull a lot more credibility. Most notable is “Stand Up,” the album’s best track. Here real-life frustrations come to the fore: “The house is burning, the bills are late / The baby’s crying, I hesitate… / Don’t hesitate this time ‘cause I won’t let you sink / Go across the line, say what you really think.” This track is the thematic concept for the album as a whole. The vocals are passionately delivered by Weller, there is a cool E-Bow guitar part and the violin provides contrast.
Another interesting track is Van Auken’s contribution, “Doubt,” with its plea to “help me navigate.” Van Auken brings his indie-rock sensibilities to the music here and things are slightly off, you know, in the way indie-rock is off. The song builds nicely in the latter third, although at 5:18 it could have used a little streamlining.
Don’t Hesitate also has its more direct moments: “God I Wait” is a Christian rock chant and a remake of the Agents of Future song. “Lamb of God” is an arrangement around the traditional church prayer. “Wash O God Our Sons and Daughters” is a traditional written in 1844. The oddest moment comes in the form of “Psalm 146,” a Biblical passage set to the blues riff from “Back Door Man.”
There is a lot to like in the Pull, especially for those able to sip a little Jesus with their rock-and-roll tea.