Fueled by grinding guitar riffs and dynamic vocal performances, This Beautiful Republic emerged from the studio in 2008 to deliver their highly anticipated sophomore release, Perceptions. Highlighted by the tracks “Learning To Fall," “No Turning Back,” “Beautifully Broken,” and “Surrender Saved My Life,” Perceptions showcases the rock-n-roll side of This Beautiful Republic that won fans over live and the massive choruses that etch themselves in your mind.
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No Matter How You Look At It| Posted August 01, 2008
Talented Buckeye-State Band This Beautiful Republic is preparing to drop their much-anticipated follow-up, Perceptions, mid-August. The band’s sophomore effort validates the positive attention the band received and the acclaim garnered by their 2007 debut. Following the pattern established by Even Heroes Need A Parachute, TBR has created a worthy sequel of songs, coupling lyrics of substance to driving modern rock.
Perceptions’ songs intersect many points of the emotional spectrum. “Surrender Saved My Life,” “No Turning Back,” “My God,” and “Last Second Chance” surge into raucously raw territory while “Pain,” “Change The World,” and “Say Goodnight” allay into a passionate, yet sincere gravitas. Each track is expressively grounded by Ben Olin’s powerful vocals and expansive delivery; layered with the appropriate emotional texture without losing sight of an indisputably hopeful outlook.
The music of Perceptions is an aggressive mixture of guitar-dominated rock which buffets the listener with intensely hammering rhythms; and skillfully polished, graduated vignettes of a more modern milieu. The band’s tightly superb musicianship makes for a bracing listening experience. Perceptions fully showcases This Beautiful Republic’s innate talent and unmistakable growth as confident, mature songwriters and musicians.
Much like Even Heroes Need A Parachute, Perceptions avoids vagueness and inconsequentiality, opting for eyes-wide-open authenticity… at least that’s the way this reviewer sees it. Fans who recognize Anberlin, Ever Stays Red, Falling Up, Filter, Seventh Day Slumber and 12 Stones as favorites should look into grabbing this album as soon as it hits shelves.
This Beautiful Republic [Perceptions]| Posted October 07, 2008 [MAIN REVIEW]
Just over a year ago, This Beautiful Republic debuted with their album, Even Heroes Need A Parachute. Their newest album, Perceptions, deals with the difference between how we see ourselves and how God sees us. About half way through trying to critique this album, I stopped in my tracks, sat back and said, “Wow, they’re good.” Not only are the lyrics honest and thought-provoking, but the music is exciting and unique. Sophomore albums have a tendency to sound too much like the first albums, or all the music sounds the same. But Perceptions has decidedly shown some serious growth in musicality and message.
Members of This Beautiful Republic are Adam Smith, Jeremy Kunkle, Brandon Paxton, and Andy Smith, and lead singer Ben Olin. The style could be classified as anything from pop to hardcore. In a press release, Olin says that “the title deals with the idea that there are at least two sides to every story. Things inevitably appear different to each individual based on their experiences, predispositions, prejudices, or vantage point. When we understand this—that what we see may not be the whole truth—we arrive where grace and love prevail.”
The first song, “Pain”, is a beautiful parallel of our relationship with God; a love song to Him. He’s always there, ready to love. It’s us who are hesitant and unsure if we want to open up our hearts. We’re too afraid of what we might lose, or what pain we might go through. But He’s always there, waiting. “We won't fall again, / if you will let me lead / We’ll fall in love, / if you will hold to me / Never let go, / endure the pain to find no pain at all.”
Tracks two and three, “Surrender Saved My Life,” and “Learning to Fall,” are both about personal surrender. We’ve all got at least one war waging inside of us. Like the apostle Paul said in Romans 7:24, “What a wretched man I am! Who will save me from this body of death?” Sometimes we are so disgusted by ourselves we just want to cry out. There is no getting out of our self-dug pits without surrendering to God. But the passage continues on in verse 25 saying, “Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord.” “Surrender Saved My Life” tells us to wave our white flag, give ourselves up, and give it all to God. “Must I open up again? / I don't need this / Healing hurts a little more, / but I'll be stronger than before…”
Track four, “Beautifully Broken,” is about being broken and made new by Jesus, and also how Jesus was beautifully broken on the cross for us. There is a lot of scripture filling these words. This song comes back to the theme of perception: difference between how we see us and how God sees us. “So You see me as Your own / Holy in the light of Your redemption / By the blood and by the thorn / We’re called to life.”
Track seven talks about how overwhelming the love of God can be. We can’t understand truly that Jesus loved us individually enough to die for us. We are so undeserving. Basically, it’s saying, I am such a sinner, how can I ever love enough? Why did Jesus die for me? It’s so beyond what we can understand. “For the life of me I can't explain / The reason You died and the reason You came / was for the life of me.”
Throughout the album, Perceptions offers listeners serious questions that are asked and struggled with by most Christians, young and old. The last few songs deal with grace, second chances, changing the world, and death. Sometimes life seems desperate and we feel quite lost, but the answer always needs to come back to Jesus. Looking at ourselves and others the way Jesus does will make all the difference, no matter what circumstances life brings. This CD has something to offer everyone that will listen. It’s a great album, and I highly recommend getting your copy right away.
A SOLID SOPHOMORE SHAKE-UP| Posted September 29, 2008
Heading the relatively recent revival of ForeFront Records, This Beautiful Republic continues on its blistering path of modern rock reflections, but also benefits from a noticeably more mature overall approach. Though the players were respectable the first time around, considerable time on tour appears to have sharpened their skills even further, while front man Ben Olin appears even more confident behind the microphone as he churns out a series of stadium ready choruses.
The Toledo-based troupe dives right in to its refined approach throughout the steadily building surges of “Pain,” merging a slight emo undercurrent with post-punk insistency. On “Surrender Saved My Life,” the group mirrors mainstream mega-sellers Taking Back Sunday’s latest material, exploding with mighty riffs and massive melodies, but tackling the much meatier topic of a believer turning over their life to the Lord.
The group’s primary Christian market comparisons remain Switchfoot and Sanctus Real, but tracks like the lushly stringed ballad “For the Life of Me” and the anti-loneliness battle cry “A Point Between Extremes” showcase the most epic side of This Beautiful Republic to date. “Say Goodnight” rounds out the record, starting with acoustic guitars and pleading lyrics before beefing up the aggression factor and tipping its hat toward the band’s multiple alt-rock orientations. –Andy Argyrakis
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from CMCentral.com. Click here to visit CMCentral.com today!
This Beautiful Republic's "Perceptions": A Review| Posted September 10, 2008
by C.E. Moore
Calling This Beautiful Republic a modern rock band is somewhat of a misnomer. I recently spoke of this album during The Christian Manifesto's "Profess" podcast program and mistakenly compared them to bands like Remedy Drive and Switchfoot (who do sound similar). But, TBR’s sophomore effort Perceptions has less in common with those bands and more in common with harder acts like Tooth & Nail’s Since October. In fact, it is quite surprising that these guys are on Forefront Records at all. TBR doesn’t quite fit the Forefront mold, boasting such acts as Rebecca St. James and former acts like Degarmo & Key. Be that as it may, TBR adds great weight to Forefront Records’ sparse artist roster.
So, it’s settled. This Beautiful Republic is one part modern rock, one part hard rock. And “Perceptions” is a step above their debut offering, “Even Heroes Need A Parachute.”
“Pain” is the lead off track and light guitar strums open the album lead singer Ben Olin’s vocals rise to the fore, light yet ever present. Soon though, the guitars begin crunching, the drums star booming, and Olin begins belting the lyrics out. It feels as if you know he could let loose even more vocally, but he’s got great control. “Surrender Saved My Life” ratchets things up a few notches and rocks out. Again, Olin’s vocals are crisp across the grinding instruments and the anthem-ish return of the other band members is cool. I imagine it translates very well from the stage. “Learning To Fall” tells the story of a prodigal and to be honest makes the album stumble after a promising start. Thankfully, songs like “Beautifully Broken,” “My God,” and “Last Second Chance” keep the band from hitting the Christian bookstore bargain bin. They’re all strong offerings tackling important themes such as our view of ourselves versus God’s view of us, the atrocity of personal isolationism, and the question of one’s eternal destination (or the reality of the existence of an eternal destination after death). Each song is delivered over great instrumentation and Ben Olin’s vocal prowess, which vacillates between thoughtfully-pensive and outright screamo. “For The Life Of Me” is a track I like as a fan of the band’s sound. But, as a critic, it is utterly cheesy. The song is predicated on a play on words that is clichéd in Christian music. I like that kind of thing, but the critic in me knows that it’s not going to win anyone but the converted. The light, wistful piece “Say Goodnight” closes out the album.
Overall, there’s a lot I liked about This Beautiful Republic’s “Perceptions.” I can’t say enough about Ben Olin’s vocal performance. He’s not unique by any means, but he certainly knows how to control how he comes across, displaying a very strong range. The theme of “seeing” permeates the album. Hopefully, when the music fades, listeners will see themselves a little better. More importantly, hopefully they’ll see Jesus a little better. I imagine that the members of TBR could think of no higher compliment.
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from The Christian Manifesto. Click here to visit TheChristianManifesto.com today!
Good Blending of Rock Genres| Posted March 29, 2013
This Beautiful Republic's second (and sadly final) album strives to give us an amalgam of sounds spanning the entire rock genre. Some hit and some miss. There are songs that sound like something you'd hear on any mainstream radio station and yet there are songs that get really heavy musically. Ben Olin does a good job in trying to match these different tones vocally. The lyrics remain honest and true which is a good thing.
This Beautiful Republic mixes their sound up a bit in this album. Some of it, like the heavier songs, works while other things, like the more radio friendly pop rock songs, don't quite work. But I do admire the fact that they wanted to change their sound up a little and experiment with different rock genres. It's also a bit of a bittersweet moment in knowing that this is the final album the band will ever put out. I wished they were still around to show me what was up their sleeves for a potential third album but, alas, that will never happen.
great album| Posted June 02, 2011
i love their sound!!
i do kinda wish they would get a little more creative, "a point between extremes" was really there only departure from typical rock.
still worth the listen/buy, though.
Perceptions| Posted March 10, 2011
I had never ever heard of 'This Beautiful Republic' before until one day I heard 'For The Life of Me' Oh my gosh! The lyrics are so pretty and true, after hearin that beautiful song I went out and bought this album and wasn't dissapointed at all. I like every song in it but my fav is definately 'Learning to Fall' I cried when I first heard it and convinced our church's worship team to learn it so they now play it during worship at our youth services here! :D I love the fact that they got Aaron Gillespie on background vocals in 'My God' although I think he coulda sang more...I think 'Surrender Saved My Life' is probably more than likely my next favorite song, and 'Say Goodnight' was so touchin and sad but beautifully written I think I want it played at my funeral. (although I wouldn't be able to hear it...)
I love this album and am patiently (cuz I have no other option) waiting for the next.
more awesomeness!| Posted January 18, 2010
this album is amazing! i love ben's voice and his passion when he sings. all the songs are great and its awesome when a band can share thier faith through music. they are awesome in concert and very energetic. ive only seen them twice when i wasnt familiar with them but i liked them right from the start!
Caught My Attention| Posted October 25, 2008
This band caught my attention when i was listening to christianrock.net which is a cool christian music website also...
But i heard them and so i decided i would by their CD which was a great choice. There are not too many CD's you can buy and like every song on it. Perceptions was one of them. I just think they should make some music videos of some songs.
This Beautiful Republic| Posted October 21, 2008
Since I loved This Beautiful Republic's last CD, Even Heros Need A Parachute, I could'nt wait for their new CD to come out! And it did not disapoint! I love it! The first time I listened to the first song No Pain I cried. It's such a beautiful song! The lyrics and the music are just so moving! The rest of the CD is awsome as well! This band knows how to write music that is interesting and lyrics that are thought provoking. I love how they have different beats and how they change it up in the middle of some of their songs. This is a good follow-up to their last CD.