|Hungry Hearts | Posted August 26, 2013
The Dream Records family grew a little larger when three guys from outside of New Orleans, Louisiana were signed in April. The group, CRAVE, comprised of lead-singer/founder Ross Hebert and friends Jason Williams and Joe Babin, was first introduced to the public when three of their songs were featured in the film Ring The Bell. Their self-titled debut releases August 27th.
Album opener "Never Be The Same" is a profession of love for God. It touches on the transformative nature of divine love— "just one touch and I will never be the same"— but lyrically is not otherwise all that different from a romantic love song.
"Ring The Bell" was the title track in the film soundtrack of the same name. The song played during an emotional moment marking the protagonist's decision to commit to Christ. While the song was effective in the film, it loses clarity and impact when moved outside the context of the movie's storyline.
"We Don't Care What They Say" finds Hebert resolved to remain close to God despite the world's attempts to pull him away: "I get pulled in every different direction / Trying to steal me from you." This bold song offers encouragement to new believers who might be choosing an unpopular path.
God is a constant companion who always hears the concerns of our hearts and will sustain us. This is the message delivered by"Not Alone," the first of three tracks on the record written from God's point-of-view.
"Who You Are" is melodic and musically sound, whereas, lyrically, it is hindered by a focus that casts too broad a net.
Jesus stands with hands outstretched in "Come To Me," a strong altar-call type song that deals with the fragility and uncertainty of life while positing Jesus as the answer. The guys display solid musicianship and abundant heart on this number.
High point of the record "His Love" seizes on the momentum of the preceding track and takes things a step further as all the pieces fall into place: a strong sense of melody, an inspired lyric, and sturdy musicality. This one's a hit!
"Need" finds Jesus having a heart-to-heart with a broken-hearted soul, encouraging: "Don't take a second to think / Just pray to Me / Cause you don't know how I want you to need."
Potentially ambiguous "I Can't Stop" gives expression to feeling swept away by God's love and being unable to contain or hide it. It's presented here as a slow-burning power ballad and again at album's end as a bonus track. Though there will be those who might prefer the energy of the first, the latter instance— a stripped down, piano-based acoustic presentation— feels more sincere.
Celebratory "Dance" is a spirited, fast-paced praise number whose high-energy performance feels a touch frenetic on the choruses. The raw energy spills over into "Rearrange" which has a little more of a garage band edge. The higher octane sound shakes things up a bit for sonic variety. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen without casualty— the melody isn't quite there.
The record ends in worship with "Desperate." Once again, the group has a heaping measure of heart but lyrically, the song isn't engaging enough to lead large numbers in corporate worship.
CRAVE's debut release reveals a youthful band, passionate about worship, singing songs about a marvelous Creator. While the lads have strong musical chops, this is clearly a young band. Still, there is no denying that these guys have fire in their bellies. So while songs like "His Love" and "Come to Me" outshine some of the other material, given time and continued songwriting experience and maturity, CRAVE should be a band to watch.
Song to Download Now:
"We Don't Care What They Say" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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