|Southern Pop that Stands Apart | Posted March 26, 2013
When you hear of a group being hailed as being one of the most promising new acts in Christian music, chances are, one might not expect four twentysomethings hailing from Orlando, Fla. to fit the bill. Yet that's exactly what the guys of All Things New are, and the foursome--made up of Luke Wycuff (drums), Joshua Schou (bass), Jeff Stein (guitars) and Garrett Hornbuckle (lead vocals)--are the latest addition to the BEC Records roster.
While still a young band in many respects, don't allow their age to fool you. Each member has walked through their fair share of life struggles. What makes their story unique is how the redemptive power of God's love has personally impacted each them, and through it, woven together a group who exists solely to glorify His name and bring hope to others.
"I feel like these are songs that people need right now," says lead vocalist Garrett Hornbuckle. "They carry the message of redemption and freedom in Christ who came and died for us while we were still sinners. [We are] just so eager to share that hope."
With the arrival of their self-tilted debut album, All Things New has the opportunity to do just that.
"Washed Over Me" starts things off as an upbeat toe-tapper, sounding like a congregational anthem of sorts. Musically, it sounds similar to the stylings of Southern/folk rockers NEEDTOBREATHE, but with a distinct pop feel.
Quirky banjo-fronted "In Your Reach" is an irresistibly catchy song about God's love always reaching out to pick us up, regardless of how hard we fall. "Holding On" is a relaxed yet mighty melody, reminding the listener of their royal adoption and inspiring them to worship their King.
"New Man" cuts deep with its reflective lyrics. The song was inspired by Hornbuckle, whose father walked out on the family when he was a child. After his mother remarried, he found himself under the care of a verbally abusive and emotionally absent stepfather. Wrestling with an identity struggle growing up due to his chaotic home life, the song shares how the love of God captured his heart and restored his broken life: "I tried to find my worth in things that didn't work / My confidence was broken, I was hopeless / But God, You have made me new, You've resorted my heart and turned these ashes into life…"
"Borderline," written by Sanctus Real's Matt Hammitt, incorporates graceful strings through its prayerful cry for God to connect with us and reveal His presence amongst life's roughest moments.
With shining vocals, "Lead Me Home" tackles the human urge to run our own lives when things aren't going our way, and hands total control over to the Creator: "When troubles rise and try to turn this heart to stone, I lift my eyes to see this life is not my own / Wanna break away from the comfort of my plans, step out in faith and put my heart in steady hands."
"Greater Things" is another testimonial tune, talking about how God turned the life around of bassist Joshua Schou after a time of living a drug/partying lifestyle as a teen. The verses recollect that our past is forgiven, and greater things lie ahead for those who faithfully follow Christ.
Richly poignant, "Keep Me On My Knees" sounds much like a Hillsong United tune with comparably relevant and worshipful lyrics, while "Use Me" goes back to their folksy start and serves as a prayer for God to use us as selfless conduits in a world in need of Him.
"You Came For Me" concludes the ten-song voyage--and on a stellar note. With touching transparency, the song questions why Jesus would choose to die for us, even when we rejected Him, concluding with the notion that we'll never be able to wrap our natural minds around how much He loves us: "I'm never gonna get it, and I'm not gonna fight it / Your love is, Your love is so beyond me."
It seems ever since the breakout of mainstream acts who've helped innovate the "Southern pop" genre, Christian music has been looking for their own alternative. While there are many who are attempting it and producing a fair outcome, All Things New is a band who stands apart as a group who does it splendidly and with real authenticity.
This album is filled with ten lyrically meaty cuts. The themes of confusion, hope, healing and surrender are deeply embedded, and you'll find yourself as a listener both inspired to praise and encouraged to press deeper into God. Stylistically, while executed commendably, it doesn't stray far from its folksy roots, and I'd enjoy seeing the addition of some grittier elements next go-around.
Overall, chalk All Things New up as yet another new act with a very sunny forecast. This is a band you definitely want to be paying attention to.
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