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LABEL: Essential Records
SPECIAL EFFECT(S): The Eleventh Hour marks the first album the group self-produced since their landmark self-titled debut--and their first project recorded in their new studio, Sputnik Studios.
PRODUCER(S): Jars of Clay

With an entire trophy case of Dove Award and GRAMMY statues, Jars of Clay shouldn't feel like they have anything to prove. Still, The Eleventh Hour boils with the type of red-hot vigor and vitality that first empowered this four-piece rock group to storm the marketplace so many years ago.

Jars' breakthrough self-titled debut will always be the standard by which their follow-up albums are measured. Though 1997's Much Afraid and 1999's If I Left the Zoo were fantastic albums that both won GRAMMYs (a feat their debut did not accomplish), The Eleventh Hour betters captures the emotional energy and masterful melodies that first set this signature group apart. Many will note that the new album is their first self-produced project since the debut, though the inspired creativity stretches beyond studio magic.

The artistry flowing through their latest songs seemingly reflects a new breadth of life experiences and profound challenges. This passion helped make the first radio single, "I Need You," their 14th consecutive No. 1. Still, The Eleventh Hour is more than just a radio album, as the whole features extraordinary depth with poetic tunes like "Fly" and "Something Beautiful" framing such commercial rockers as "Revolution" and "Whatever She Wants." Ultimately, if The Eleventh Hour proves anything, it's that Jars still possess a deep well of artistic possibilities that can capture the seemingly unspeakable words of the real life.

David Jenison