When this album was released in 1995, there had been a few really good bands out there adapting to the 90s. But with this album, as well as the later releases of Jars of Clay’s debut as well as DC Talk’s Seminole Jesus Freak, 1995 turned out to be a good year.
While this particular album, Sixpence’s second, hadn’t garnered the commercial success of their 1997 self-titled Steve Taylor -produced album which had the hit songs “Kiss Me” and “There She Goes,” This Beautiful Mess is considered, at least by this reviewer and a few other faithful followers, to be their best.
The musicians were in a true, natural, creative flow with this project, unlike any others that followed, or its freshman predecessor. It has a beautiful rhythmic quality–whether it’s the heavy, grungy guitars or the light, poppy guitars; or the flowing and skillful drum and bass lines. And of course, it’s full of Leigh’s artful voice and Matt’s poetic, often gut-wrenchingly honest lyrics. It’s not an album that’s easy to just listen to casually. It all blends so nicely that it forces you to just drop everything and listen intently.
In fact, I’ve been listening to this as I’m writing. And I’m finding myself stopping to listen, being swept up by its sound, no matter how hard I try writing and listening at the same time.
Like I said, this was the band’s sophomore album, and was the one that gave them a “have you heard of these guys?” buzz. While it may not have gotten the attention it deserves, it definitely stands out as the band’s most creative album (I’ll let you debate that one) and is one of the most artful albums of the 1990s.