The 14-minute “Jesus, I/Mary Star of the Sea” is built on an old hymn that makes a bold statement of faith. Tired of empty pursuits, the singer wants to trust God with his future on “Ride a Black Swan.” Whether addressing God or a woman on “Lyric,” he puts his faith in someone else as he seeks to shine (“I need you as my way across my life”). Love songs are optimistic about a new romance (“Declaration of Faith”), exalt a special lady (“Honestly”), desire life-long companionship (“Settle Down,” “Of a Broken Heart”) and want to see a damaged relationship mended (“El Sol”). The context isn’t clear, but the line “Freedom isn’t free unless you learn how to give” on “Endless Summer” seems to promote selflessness.
“Yeah” includes an angry f-word and the odd line, “The drugs are my addiction.” A woman is urged to “stay the night” on “Come With Me.” A mild profanity appears on “Baby Let’s Rock!”
Fronted by Billy Corgan (whose last band, Smashing Pumpkins, sold more than 25 million albums), Zwan soars when it seeks God and loving, committed relationships. Are these guys Christians? That’s a question young fans will be asking, but it’s hard to say. They haven’t claimed to be. And brief lapses—including a stray obscenity—raise doubts. Still, Mary Star of the Sea is an encouraging start from a group of spiritual seekers in need of our prayers.