The New Kings of the Christian Music Country
Posted May 21, 2012
By JJFrancesco_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Rebecca St. James made herself a household name in CCM during the '90s, but until recently, her younger brothers remained securely out of the spotlight. As Joel and Luke, the duo broke into the music business and built themselves a small, but loyal following. Now, with a name change to For King and Country, and an opening slot on Winter Jam--giving them a vast platform for exposure--and a fantastic debut with Crave, the duo are poised to take contemporary Christian music by storm.
With a consistent upbeat pop/rock sound that would make mainstream counterparts like The Fray jealous, For King and Country wastes no time proving that they have what it takes to become the next big thing.
Opening the album with the catchy "Light it Up," the duo offer a radio-ready hit full of encouragement against depression and despair, singing in the rousing chorus, "Light it up and let it go, don't you see that you are not alone, light it up and watch it fly, 'cause you can go anywhere you want tonight." The track proves to be an instant highlight and gives a fine preview of the things to come.
Before the title track has a chance to find from your mind, the band breaks into the orchestra-backed "Proof of Your Love" and dazzles on an even deeper level with what could be the strongest track on the album. With a plea to God to help us live like Him, the track urgently resonates with a deep passion: "So let my life be the proof, the proof of Your love. Let my love look like You and what You're made of. How You lived, how You died, Love is sacrifice."
After two good tracks, one would expect something at least less stellar, but the band keeps it coming with the fierce "Missing" and the moving lead-single "Busted Heart (Hold On To Me)." Both tracks offer their own unique goodness and passionate lyrics and keep adding to the brilliance that is this album.
"People Change" slows things down just a little, but not in a bad way. With a quiet orchestral backing and a quiet chorus, the track is effectively pulled off and gives just a little breather to the album's destined-to-be-signature passionate choruses. (But by no means is this track's chorus anything less than stellar.)
Things get back to the infectiously upbeat with the middle track of the album, "The Middle of Your Heart." From the first second, this feels like a song destined to be played on radio, even possibly mainstream radio since its lyrics could be interpreted differently depending on one's convictions. Still, the track never feels "watered down" in the slightest. With a melody rivaling anything on pop radio, the track proudly sings, "So take me to the middle of your heart, lead me to wherever your love starts, to a new day dawning, to the place you are."
By this point in the album, it's clear that this band isn't a one-song-wonder and they aren't getting lucky with a string of a few good tracks. They are the real deal!
The remainder of the album proves to continue the band's moving melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. While the band's best tracks are arguably in the first half of the album, there's plenty to love in the second half. Upbeat foot-movers "Fine, Fine, Life" and "Pushing on a Pull Door" are pop gems and "Love's To Blame", "Sane" and "Crave" offer softer, but no less moving ballads to show that this band can pretty much master both ends of the pop market. By the time the album's concluding message of "hope's what we crave" fades out, you can't help but sit back and feel like you've just had a truly rare and uplifting musical experience.
Finding bands able to produce an album jam-packed with memorable tunes is becoming very rare these days. To find a band like For King and Country who proves that they can strike that amazing sweet spot between fresh and original and radio-ready, and then proceed to release an entire album full of these tracks, is truly an exciting find and puts the brothers in a very elite musical club.
Crave is destined to be a classic and will hopefully prove to have legs and land on many year-end lists despite its early release. When a band comes along with an album this good, they're definitely worth keeping around for the long haul.
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