Record Label: Atlantic Records
Release Date: July 15th 2016
From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, this is an album which both raises in terms of speed and fun lyrics, and goes into some of the most explorative ballads along with some of the more minimalistic instrumentation alongside it. Needtobreathe are an American Christian Rock/Gospel/Electronic band that are quite big in America reaching number 2 on the US Billboard 100.
Unfortunately (as with most bands in their genre) there are some exceptionally cheesy lyrics that go alongside many of the tracks on this output. This goes from the bombast on a song like Money And Fame with a whole choir singing “It’s Alright” to the quite sombre root on Hard Love with the line “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger”. This is something that works with louder and much more bombastic tracks as lead singer Bear Rineheart screams the tracks from the top of his lungs perfectly, but on his more quiet moments, it tends to sound whiney. This is a balance that fans of this style of music will love, but unfortunately it isn’t a trait that can resonate well with every listener.
The fact that the band choose to use a drum machine rather than an established drum is fun at times but misses the charm that makes a band feel like they’re actually playing too you. This sounds great on a song like Don’t Bring That Trouble where the track races along at a hundred miles per hour, even putting the thoughts that this sounds like the hit Black Betty through your head whilst listening to this piece. It’s quite creative at some points in the album but unfortunately it misses the real touch a band need to have on their own output.
Guitarist Bo Rineheart is given little chance to shine on this release but when he has his moments he takes them and runs with it. The acoustic guitar he plays on Testify makes the band sound incredibly fun and different to listen to. He also puts in mind of someone like Slash on Don’t Bring The Trouble when he flat out plays one of the most creative guitar solos heard on the entire piece. Bo Rineheart needs to be demonstrated more on this album and from this he’s almost the underdog star in the entire band.
Bassist Seth Bolt also shines on this release on Don’t Bring That Trouble his thumping bass line drives the track and from it makes the piece incredibly catchy to listen to. This works well and makes the band a force of creativity. The main member to take note of however is keyboardist Josh Lovelace, even when the rest of the tracks feel flat at points his parts gives them a sense of enjoyment. His parts are creative and vast and really it’d be pointless to pick one of his defining moments, as he shines throughout.
Finally the guests on Great Night of folk group Shovels And Rope works well and the song goes into sounding like a barn dance around them, this makes the track incredibly infectious and fun but also makes the album feel like it can stand on its own two feet during this point. In conclusion whilst this album does have some fun moments it does drag at points, there are exceptions to the rule (Let’s Stay Home Tonight) but as a whole the album drags and simply doesn’t bring anything new to the table. The fact that it ends on a 6 minute track that seems to go nowhere (Clear) makes the release feel kind of same-old and from this doesn’t make the band an act that many can see as standing on their own two feet.