NEEDTOBREATHE - Rivers in the Wasteland
When it comes to "what's hot" now in the music biz, you can name a genre and there will be a market for it. If Americano-styled rock, flavoured with a bit of folk, stomp, a dash of Beach Boys is your thing - not only do you have an eclectic taste in music - but this album has your number. Playing together for 15 years now, NEEDTOBREATHE has gone on a journey with each other and their fans and have come out of it an increasingly popular band in both the states and around the world.
As the band matures, it is evident that both brothers Bear (Vocals and Guitar) & Bo Rinehart (Lead Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin) and their band mate Seth Bolt (Bass) are taking their art to a new level. Following a slightly different style to their genre-topping 2011 album "The Reckoning", you can't miss the same flavour these boys pour into each of their albums. This year, after a 3 year gap, NEEDTOBREATHE blessed their fans with their latest album "Rivers in the Wasteland".
Not beating around the bush, the opening track "Wasteland" lets new listeners know who this band is, with echoing lines that solidify their Christian roots "If God is on my side, who can be against me" (a reference to Romans 8:31.) Long-time fans like I rest in the fact that the band hasn’t strayed from their identity whilst their popularity boosts.
Songs like "State I'm In" and "Feet Don't Fail Me Now" give the listeners a new feel from the boys, hinting at influences from The Beach Boys and Kings of Leon. Throwing in guitar hooks that brand the mind of the listener, along with experimenting with vocal effects that makes Bear sound even a bit Elvis-like with the vibrato in his voice, the tracks on this album are extremely versatile.
Genre versatility gives the boys room to excel in many pockets of the music industry. "Where the Money Is," "The Heart," "State I'm In" & current single "Multiplied" take the folksy-rock section of the album, whilst "Oh Carolina," "Wasteland," & "Difference Maker" have made their way through the country charts already in the states. "Feet, Don't Fail me Now" & "Where the Money Is" are two of the more rock-heavy tracks from the album - with still a heavy identity to the South Carolina roots of the band.
This album lived up to the hype of the very successful predecessor "The Reckoning." Its serves up catchy songs you could hear on radio, tunes that bring the band into new realms of writing and performing, yet stays true to the Christian-Rock style NEEDTOBREATHE have always played. The song's lyrics have been written to both make you think, and make you smile. My pick off the album would have to be "Oh, Carolina" making me both want to sing along, and the vibe sends me straight to South Carolina with the perfect mix of guitar hooks and that sweet southern piano sound. Plus you can't beat Bear's vocal work on that song.
If this album is any indication of what's to come when they tour Australia in Feb this year - I'll be there, front row, ready to experience what it's like to hear this album live.
NEEDTOBREATHE are playing at the HBF Stadium, touring with Third Day & Levi McGrath for their "Make a Difference" tour on the 16 of Feb in Perth. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.