New female fronted rock band doesn't disappoint. | Posted January-03-2012
After reading Jay Wright's review of this album, I had to hear it myself. Female fronted Christian Rock bands are starting to take off, and keep your eye on the independent band Silversyde, because I have a feeling they"ll catch a label's eye soon.
"Run To You" brings the rock, with distorted guitars and some in your face drumming. With a voice like Dawn from Fireflight, lead vocalist Laura Jones begins to sing about running to God in midst of trouble. On the band's facebook they say their main focus is suicide prevention, and already in the first song, there is a message of hope. Laura's vocals (even a surprise scream at the end), crunching guitars and skilled drumming make this a top track off the album.
"Circus Circus" sticks to the rock, but the lyrics are my favorite, with messages straight from the Bible. "A fool says in his own heart, I'm giving up and there is no God. All your life you've played that card in this Circus, Circus". Those lyrics from the chorus are so true about many teens today. once again, we get a message of hope and forgiveness, with some great music. "Masquerade" starts off slow, with Laura softly sing, "I've lost control of all I see around me, I can't believe that you still love me, I hide my flaws amongst these pieces, shadows remain of what I can see..." then the guitars blast in, and once again we are given a rocker filled with hope! What I've noticed about Silversyde is they never dwell on sorrow. They present it, but always show the way to peace and happiness: Jesus Christ.
"Hear Me" has a Flyleaf vibe to it, with the song starting off with a soft voice that goes into a growly scream. Not the fry or high screams of Lacey Sturm or Sara Anthony, but it's refreshing to hear something different. This song is a plea to God for Him to hear, heal, save and change us. "That's not me, that's not who I am, I'm not like the rest of them...cause I'm Your's!" should be the anthem of our generation. "Complete" is a good song, the only problem I have is the intro music sort of sounds like "Masquerade", but that's just a minor quibble. "Complete" is a song of thankfulness to God for loving us the way we are, even though we are a mess. "It's not too late to break these chains" is a message young people need to hear, as we often think we've gone too far for anyone to love us. The ending is something different and unique. I like it. A lot.
Halfway through the album we come to "Breakaway", a song that acknowledges the need for God to change our lives. A decent rocker, "Breakaway" will please your ears with great lyrics and a nice sound. Laura extends her vocal range a bit on this song, and it sounds good. "Can't Let Go" is a beautiful song with a strong intro and great music overall. "But you take my pain and fill me with the greater peace" sums up what God has done in my life, and I love the lyrics to this song. Definitely a top favorite.
"The Silence" is another one of my favorites, with almost an old school sound to the music, but it's one of the best songs on the album. I know I've said this about every song, but the lyrics are strong and powerful, and give such a message of hope, The chorus says: "The silence is deafening, It brings me down to my knees (revealing the dark in me), Forgiveness it waits for me, In surrender". "The Silence" is packed with hope and God's love.
I really appreciate how blatantly Christian Silversyde's lyrics are. Most Christian Rock bands want to reach out to the mainstream, which is great, but the lyrical content suffers a bit. Not the case with Silversyde. "You Are There" fully acknowledges God's presence, and the chorus is worshipful. This song is more on the punk side, and I love the faster paced guitars. Great sound. "Love Song" is a great worship song, that I actually like. Usually I find worship songs cliche and the same thing repeated over and over, but this one doesn't suffer from that curse.
The last two songs are soft, acoustic songs that are absolutely beautiful. The simple acoustic guitars, piano and a few hints of tambourine capture you. "Hold On" says,"I’ll hold on to everything You’ve said, You said You’d never leave, And I believe no matter what they say, You’ll always be with me, I’ll hold on, I’ll hold on, I’ll hold on to You" and "Firewall" closes out the album by asking the listener why they are destroying their life, when there is a better way. Perfect way to close the album.
Silversyde is a very promising Independent band. If you're a fan of Icon For Hire, Flyleaf, The Letter Black and Fireflight, you'll definitely like these guys. They're talented both musically and vocally, and they have killer lyrics that always bring a message of hope. Check out and like their Facebook, and be sure to buy their cd at their store, on Amazon MP3 or iTunes.
Great new Christmas music! | Posted December-11-2011
Looking for some good Christmas music? This four song EP recently released by Jamie Grace is sure to give you that Christmas cheer!
The EP starts with "Christmas Together", an original fun song about the times we share as a family during the holidays. Jamie Grace's music has always been fun beats with a positive message, and this song fits the bill perfectly. "Christmas Together" is full of witty lyrics, but brings everything together to remind us cherish the times we have as family together at Christmas.
I really like Jamie Grace's spin on "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"; one of my favorite Christmas songs! Jamie Grace takes an awesome classic and add a fun beat and her signature vocal style. It's definitely a different take, but a great one!
When I saw she had covered "Christmas Don't Be Late", I had to smile. This is such a cute song, and Jamie Grace brings the fun and whimsy of this song to 2011. Definitely a fun track, even if it is a little unexpected.
The final song is "What Child Is This", and features fellow Gotee labelmate, Abandon Kansas. This is the more serious song on the EP, and they did a great job collaborating. This version of "What Child Is This" has become one of my favorites. Once again, Jamie Grace puts her spin on a classic, adds her beautiful voice, as well as Jeremy Spring's great vocals. The addition of "Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" just adds to the beauty of this song. Best track on the EP!
Jamie Grace has done a great job on this EP. She's taken classics, put her own spin on them, and made something for everyone.You can get the album on iTunes or Amazon MP3 for a really good price!
New release from Skyhawk Drive does not disappoint! | Posted December-10-2011
One thing you'll notice different than the band's first EP is that gone are the days of the happy punk pop for Skyhawk Drive. Their new sound is more mature, and tackles deeper issues. I really like it! Starting us off is a haunting intro that leaves you full of expectation for the first track, "Whisper", with just a tease of the chorus in a piano background. Beautiful! "Whisper" is one of my FAVORITE songs of 2011. The feeling in the music, the passion in Ronnie's voice all speak to the listener. "Whisper" is a strong song with powerful lyrics that plead for God to direct our lives. This is a must listen to track. The edgier sound of Skyhawk Drive is amazing!
"Brothers In Arms" is my tie favorite with "Whisper" on this album. Opening with a soft piano and epic drums, the band begins to sing the chorus as one, then all of a sudden Ronnie lets loose, and the song begins. Is this really the band that sang "Their Dance, Your Chance" back in 2009? They were good then, but they're awesome now! I love the chorus, that says "Wake me before the dawn, brothers in arms, stand till the fight is won, together as one." The music behind this song brings the rock edge, and the lyrics bring a strong story of unity.
Halfway through the album, we come to "Something More", a Switchfoot-esque song that speaks of following God, taking a leap of faith and giving into "Something More" - God. "I'm moving forward, I'll die another day" and other lines in this song challenge us as Christians to trust in God and do radical things. "A Simple Song" is a beautiful, acoustic love song that speaks of struggling to share one's feelings with someone, but nevertheless finding the courage to share them. This is such a pretty song, both in the lyrics and music.
"The Getaway" is a fun song that is an anthem of a generation. Don't tell us we're not good enough, that we'll never be able to achieve our dreams! There's a fun rock beat, fun lyrics that not only make for a good song, but a life anthem as well.
WHY ARE THESE GUYS NOT SIGNED TO A MAJOR LABEL? Seriously.....This EP, produced by Ben Kasica, has the band sounding better than ever, with some of the best music I've heard this year. Skyhawk Drive has come a long way since "Center Stage Shout Out", and I believe they will only get better. "Skyhawk Drive" is a must have album. I've (unfortunately) never had the chance to meet these guys or see the band live, but I've been able to tune into a few Livestream sessions they did, as well as watch them live on YouTube, and their passion for music is amazing. Be sure to recommend Skyhawk Drive to your friends, ask your church to have them come play, "Like" them on facebook, follow them on Twitter....buy their music on Amazon MP3 or iTunes. But whatever you do, be sure to keep your eye on them!
Needtobreathe gives us another amazing album! | Posted October-14-2011
Needtobreathe has been one of my favorite bands since "Daylight" was released in 2006. In the past five years the guys have changed their sound to a more Southern Rock/Alternative/Country genre, won 6 Dove Awards and opened for Taylor Swift. The guys are back with their fourth album, "The Reckoning", and to be honest, I didn't really like it at first. However, now that I've had a chance to listen to it more, I find I really enjoy this more serious side of Needtobreathe.
"Oohs & Aahs" starts things of on a somber note unlike the fun, banjo picking opener on "The Outsiders". "Oohs & Aahs" has a strong Southern Rock flavor that brings gritty guitars and slightly distorted vocals that somehow create a smooth, solid song. Definitely one of the best songs on the album, it showcases great vocal and musical talent. "White Fences" is one of my favorites off the album, and is a bittersweet tale of a love gone wrong, and could even be taken as a Christian's spiritual struggle between sin and God.
Next on the album we have "Drive All Night" that showcases the country sound of Needtobreathe, and tells the story of a restless soul longing for adventure; something different. "A Place Only You Can Go" is a beautiful, sweet song and I love the addition of bagpipes on this song. Very creative! "Slumber" the first single to Christian Radio from "The Reckoning", pleads for Christians to awake from their "slumber", and tells us that we don't have to "stand in line for crumbs that fall from the table, just enough to get by" , we can chase our dreams and make them reality.
"The Reckoning" is a powerful tune about fighting to become who you know you need to be, and visits the sound Needtobreathe showcased on "Daylight". "Able" is one of the best songs lyrically on the album, acknowledging that we are not able to do anything on our own, that we need God's strength and guidance. Another top notch track! "Maybe They're On To Us" is the main "fun" song on "The Reckoning" with brassy trumpets and a fun guitar rhythm.
"Wanted Man" is a lovely song about a man who acknowledges he has done wrong, and the consequences he must now face, but still desires love. "Keep Your Eyes Open" sounds like it came straight off "Daylight", and listening to this track, I found myself missing that side of Needtobreathe. "Tyrant Kings" seems a little off to me, and I wish Needtobreathe had kept "Cops" (which sounded so awesome on the behind the scenes video) and left this song off. "The Devil's Been Talkin" has a fresh, unique intro, and is one of the catchiest songs off "The Reckoning". "Angel At My Door" keeps the alternative/country feel, and although I found it a little confusing at first, I find it a beautiful song of encouragement to a friend. "Learn To Love" closes the album, with a message of unconditional commitment.
"The Reckoning" is a very strong album from a band that went from sounding like Switchfoot to creating their own, unique style that captured the attention of listeners all over. Sure, it's darker than "The Heat" and "The Outsiders" but it has such strong emotion and some of the best musical and vocal talents you'll ever hear. "The Reckoning" definitely belongs in your library.
Changing The Script One Album At A Time | Posted August-23-2011
Tooth & Nail Records "other female-fronted band" have just released their debut album, "Scripted". A mixture of punk rock, synth pop and great lyrics are the result. Let's get to the review!
"Scripted" throws open the curtains with a suspenseful intro to "Theatre", a heavy-hitting song about living life beyond the script. Ariel's punk vocals hit you in the face with urgency, the music is great, and the lyrics really pack a meaning. "Make A Move" is the single from "Scripted" and urges us not to compromise. "Make A Move" is more in the style of their EP's, carrying that same raw sound as songs like "Fall Apart" and "Call Me Alive". "Make A Move" is one of the best tracks off "Scripted".
When I first heard "Get Well", I was really surprised as Icon For Hire never did any synth pop on their EPs. However, it was a nice surprise, and I really like the "new" sound. The lyrical theme is very different than a listener normally hears, with lyrics such as "And being lonely’s only fun in a group/It sort of loses its charm when it’s true” but the lyrics of "Get Well" are a message that needs to be heard. "The Grey" follows, and is one of the three older songs Icon For Hire chose to re-do. This version is beautiful and doesn't differ much from the EP version. Ariel's vocals are more polished here, and there are minor lyrical differences. Another standout track.
"Off With Her Head" follows, and I have to say, while the "Scripted" version is awesome, I like the EP version better. The EP version had more of a raw punk feel while the cd version sounds very polished with a bit of pop influence. It all depends on your tastes! "Off With Her Head" is one of my favorite Icon For Hire songs lyrically, with Ariel pleading to God, "Don't let go I don't wanna be this, I don't wanna be this, death is mine I know, Don't let go, don't let go, Savior!"
"Fight" can be considered an anthem for all of those who have gone through their lives and taken a lot of pain. "Fight" brings crunching guitars that blend with Ariel's beautiful vocals, the unique bridge is definitely "ear-catching" and this song is sure to be a fan favorite. "Up In Flames" doesn't bring anything new to the musical table, however it's a very good track with empowering lyrics. "Iodine" is another standout track about how we know what we need to do to recover, but keep "temporarily" fixing things. "I don't like pain but I bring it to life, I don't like scars but I'm good with a knife, I don't like tears but I'm starting to cry when I realize I'm destroying my life." "Iodine" really brings the energy as well as the message.
"Only A Memory" (Known as "Pernilla" to we older fans) is my personal favorite Icon For Hire song. That being said, I like the slight musical changes they made to this song, as well as how great Ariel sounds singing. But what I really miss in the "Scripted" version is the screaming. The screaming of "I won"t bend, I won't break, I will, not, BREAK!" made the EP version absolutely perfect. I know Icon For Hire doesn't have a screamer anymore, but I wish they would've had one of the many Tooth & Nail screamo bands guest. "Only A Memory" is still an amazing track, and Ariel did do a great job replacing the screams with her vocals. The lyrics to "Only A Memory" really pack a punch, and many fans will relate to this song.
"Pieces" closes out the album, and I'm glad Icon For Hire chose to end the song on an energetic note instead of a ballad. Ariel dishes out some tough love on "Pieces" and straight up tells us to pick up the pieces and get our lives right with God. This was a great song choice to leave the listener with.
Over the past few years, Icon For Hire's musical style has developed from punk/rock/screamo to a blend of punk/rock/synth pop. Icon For Hire has a great sound with lyrics a lot better than their secular counterparts. While their slight style change has them borrowing a lot from bands like Paramore, Evanescence, and Flyleaf, Icon For Hire still puts their own unique stamp on each song. They may not change the script entirely, but they're well on their way to re-writing it.
One of the most underrated bands and projects in the Christian Music Industry. | Posted June-08-2011
Released in 2002, "Contact" was the second and last release from The Benjamin Gate. So sad....you can read my Throwback Thursday post dedicated to their career as a band here.
"Contact" brought a softer, contemporary rock sound which differed from their 2001 debut, "[untitled]", which had a strong electronic rock vibe. You can still hear the electronic influences in "Contact", but they've been tamed quite a bit.
"Contact" starts things off strong with "Lift Me Up", a track with driving bass and fast guitars. Adrianne's (You may know her as "Adie") voice is gorgeous on this song, and her accent lends such a unique sound! The lyrics speak of homesickness, but a passion for their ministry as well. "This Is Not" brings The Benjamin Gate's electro-rock sound back, the verse's lyrics are great, acknowledging sin and the need to be set free. The one downfall of this album is the repetitiveness of the chorus lyrics in almost every song. Usually the choruses on this album are two or three phrases repeated, which is a little disappointing, but not every song is like that.
"The Calling". My favorite song off the album, "The Calling" is a beautiful song of encouragement to a friend to answer the Calling of God on their life. Adrienne's vocals are stunning on this track! "Do What You Say" is a fun rock track dedicated to those who don't "practice what they preach".
"Overkill" ties with 'The Calling" for Adrienne's best vocal performance. Her technique is really beautiful, and her accent brings a refreshing uniqueness. "Overkill" tells us not to worry, but to trust God in all we do. "Need" is a great track, with a different beat and has some of the best lyrics on the album, but the chorus suffers from repetition. "Light" is a nice track, and I like the distorted vocals in the middle. They add an element of surprise and a heavier feel to the track.
"Your Kisses Blind Me" is a unique take on a relationship with God, but the chorus suffers slightly by weak lyrics, (3/4 of it is three lines of "na na na na na na na na") but Adrienne's lovely voice saves it. "Tonight" is unique vocally and musically, and the chorus is not repetitive! "Gratitude" is a song of thankfulness to God for His Grace and Love. Much better than most Praise & Worship music we hear lately, "Gratitude" is strong in every way, yet a fun track!
"The Way You Are" once again gives Adrienne the chance to perform more stunning vocals, however, it never seems she is showing off. The chorus once again has problems with being repetitive, but I've noticed it really doesn't bother me much when I listen to this album. I suppose it's a matter of taste. "Violently" is one of the edgier tracks, bringing a strong drum and guitar intro, with Adrienne's voice proclaiming "Gotta fight til we reach You!". Unfortunately that phrase is repeated 8 times. For that reason, it takes this track down several notches. Other than the chorus, this is a great, edgy Praise & Worship song I would recommend to Worth Dying For fans.
"Fall Away" is the closing track....or so I thought. I listened to this album several times before I found the surprise halfway through this track. "Fall Away" is strong in every way, except....you guessed it, the CHORUS! At 2:54, "Fall Away" ends...how I did not notice there were over 3 minutes left on the track, I don't know...haha! After about 30 seconds, we are greeted with....A REMIX OF "THE CALLING"! What? Originally, "The Calling" is an acoustic based song, but the remix brings an electro-rock edge to it, and it equals, if not betters the original! It was a pleasant surprise!
"Contact" is a great album with two flaws: the repetitiveness of roughly half the album's choruses, and the lack of slow songs on the album. I personally don't think the lack of slower songs is a deal breaker for me, with "Need" and "The Calling" being the only "slower" tracks. However, for being released in 2002, "Contact" stills brings a fresh sound that I wish a few more artists would bring back. This is a must have project, and it's a real shame The Benjamin Gate broke up after such an awesome album.
Strong start for an up and coming band! | Posted June-02-2011
I'm really excited to review this project! I recently heard about Skyhawk Drive, and their EP, "Center Stage Shout Out" which was released in November of 2009.
Starting off the EP is a fun intro track that sets the pace for "Center Stage Shout Out": a fun, electro-pop/rock album with light hearted lyrics that bring a positive message as well. "Their Dance, Your Chance brings a fun pop track infused with elements of rock. This song is so fun, but brings a message of being who we are without caring what others think with lyrics such as, "Shout HEY! World it's me, I don't care what you think!"
Coming in at track number three, "Us Against The Clock" is one of the most fun tracks off the EP. Now, I want to clarify something. When I first heard this song, I thought there was a swear word in the opening lyrics. THERE IS NOT! Ronnie from Skyhawk Drive told me they do not use swear words in their music, which I think is pretty awesome of them. The music is fun, and I bet this is even more awesome live.
"Hey Candi" is a lighthearted, sweet song about a girl that equates how he feels about her with the effects of candy. It's a funny song, but doesn't fall into that "oh brother" category. "Finest Mistake" has got to be one of the BEST Pro-Life songs ever written. This song tells the story of a young girl who makes the choice to have her child; her finest mistake. "Finest Mistake" is a powerful and beautiful song, and I encourage you to listen to it as soon as you can.
"Silence Says" is next and carries more of a punk feel, with lyrics that deal with the confusion of trying take the advice of others, trying to figure out who you are and what you want to do with your life. Great track with a strong punk feel.
"The Breakaway" closes out the EP, and is probably my personal favorite off the album. As teenagers, we go through a lot of terrible things, but through this song Skyhawk Drive encourages us to "give it all to grace" and promises "You're worth more than what they say, don't you forget for another day, that you're loved and you mean everything ". This acoustic track is beautiful, conveys God's love for us, and is the perfect closer for the album.
"Center Stage Shout Out" gave us just a taste of what Skyhawk Drive is capable of. Two years later, Skyhawk Drive is still going strong, and is currently in Skies Fall Studios creating a new project!
For fans of: Relient K, FM Static, Philmont, Eleventyseven.
"Shockwave" | Posted May-14-2011
I have been a big fan of Mission Six since their 2008 debut, "Superhero". Well, since then the guys have released "Not Too Young"(2009) and this year's release, "Shockwave". Mission Six is known for their fun, pop/rock/dance music, and encouraging lyrics for teens. Does "Shockwave" take Mission Six one step further? Let's find out!
Let me start this off by saying "Shockwave" is not your typical album release. Rather than calling it a cd, "Shockwave" has been labeled, "MVP", which stands for Music, Video, and Purpose. The music aspect gives you 10 songs, (which can be downloaded for use on your MP3 player from an internet link given in the MVP case) the video part of the DVD means you will get 10 music videos, (more on that later), and an episode of iShine KNECT featuring Mission Six. The purpose portion gives you behind the song sessions, and includes the iShine episode.
Starting off the album, we have the title track, "Shockwave". Mission Six brings their signature style to this song, and it's definitely a top-notch track. The lyrics bring a great message of being a "shockwave" in our daily lives, by impacting this world for Christ.
"Lifted High" brings more of a worship aspect to the album. "Lifted High" brings a punchy pop/rock sound with lyrics that glorify God, and is sure to become a favorite among youth groups. "Heaven Down To Earth" brings a slightly different sound, and the lyrics continue to impact the listener, challenging us to bring Heaven down to earth and spread the Gospel. Definitely one of my favorites!
Next we have "Outshout The Lies", a slightly poppier rock track that challenges the listener to outshout the lies of this world and Satan. Overall, it's a great track from start to finish. "Shine" comes next and is my personal favorite off the album. I love it musically, and to me this track has the best lyrics of the album. I like the "harder" sound of this track, and it's one of those worship songs you would definitely not yawn at!
"Sweet Sixteen" is a song written by Noah Hayden, the lead singer of Mission Six after his 16th birthday. There's a lot of meaning in this song, because as teens, around 16 is when we really start solidifying our beliefs and what we want to do with our lives. The music fits the song perfectly, and overall this is a great track.
The next four tracks are all covers, so I won't focus so much on the lyrical themes, but more on how the band covered them. I was a little disappointed they chose to do four covers instead of four original songs, but M6 does a great job on them. I enjoy their own unique take on the different songs. The four songs are "Everlasting God", "Mighty To Save", "Never Let Go", and "Revelation Song". In my opinion, the best cover is "Mighty To Save", to which M6 brings a rockier sound. "Everlasting God" is also a great cover, and gives Anthony the opportunity to show off his guitar skills. "Never Let Go" and "Revelation Song" are also great covers.
The video aspect brings ten music videos, which are ten live performance videos Mission Six did at the KNECT Shoot a few months ago. The guys are great performers, but the audio you hear is the cd, not really the live performance. I personally wish they would have left the original live audio on it, but it's not a huge issue. The KNECT episode is all bout "being cool", and I enjoyed it very much.
Overall, I enjoyed "Shockwave" very much. This album focuses more on worship, but not in that pre-packaged formula a lot of bands follow today. I like the fact that you get a lot for your money with this album, and the behind the songs, Knect, and live performance videos were nice to watch.
If you are a fan of the Jonas Brothers, VOTA, FM Static, Robert Pierre, or any other iShine artist, I have no doubt you will like Mission Six. Be sure to check their tour dates at http://www.missionsixband.com/ for the Shockwave tour this summer and fall!
Anthem Lights delivers! | Posted May-10-2011 Anthem Lights" starts things off with "Can't Shut Up" which is currently a hit single on radio stations all over America. An anthem for young people all over, Anthem Lights boldly declares that "This is why we stand up and sing, we can't shut up! We've got everything that we need! We can't shut up! Love has come and now we are free! We can't shut up!". A fun, energy packed track, "Can't Shut Up" mixes pop and rock in a great way, and there is no question about the impact the lyrics have on listeners.
Next we have "I Wanna Know You Like That" is another strong song that encourages men to stand up and be like David, but is a message applicable to every Christian. If you haven't noticed already, there isn't a main vocalist. As I mentioned in my Anthem Lights EP review , Anthem Lights is comprised of four singers, Alan Powell, Chad Graham, Caleb Grimm, and Kyle Kupecky. Vocals are often traded throughout their songs, and it's obvious these guys are talented. Overall, "I Wanna Know You Like That"is a great pop/rock track.
One of my absolute favorites from Anthem Lights is "Circles" which follows "I Wanna Know You Like That" It slows things down some, and brings a more serious tone to the album. This song has impacted me personally, and challenged me in my Christian walk with lyrics like "Before you even know it, I'm right back at the start, Doing what I hate, And breaking my own heart, I'm going back and forth , And then forth and then back, And then round in circles" Once again the guys hit things right out of the park with their vocals and lyrics.
"Can't Get Over You" is another slow track, but the lyrics are powerful. A message of God's forgiveness, grace and love, "Can't Get Over You" doesn't bring a whole lot of new stuff musically, but as I mentioned, the lyrics are powerful. After what God has done for us, how can anyone "get over" His saving grace?
"Stranger"...yes!!!! I was dying to hear this kind of pop music again!! Anyone remember the days of TrueVibe, 90's era ZoeGirl, and Plus One? It seemed Christian music was done in that area, but Anthem Lights brings it back in this song! I don't mean the sound is dated, but rather it's a revival of GOOD pop music that has been missing from CCM for a while. Anyway, the lyrics of "Stranger" speaks of being a stranger in this world, waiting to go to our Heavenly home. "I gotta keep my eyes looking to the sky for you, the Son is on His way, and I wanna be ready, and I won't forget I'm not home til I'm with You, the Son is on His way!" reminds us of the coming of Christ. Definitely one of my favorites on this album.
"Outta My Mind" starts things off pretty neat, with a little auto tuned intro, then Caleb brings in the verse, asking God for happiness, then the chorus realizes that we need to have the mind of Christ in order to be truly happy. I love the bridge in this song, and I'm going to start telling people I'm outta my mind. :P Overall this is a good track, once gain with great lyrics and a fun pop/rock beat.
"Lifeline" has a fun pop/latino sound, and Chad Graham's voice really shines in this track."Lifeline" speaks of Christ being our lifeline, saving us from our sin. I love the breakdown on the bridge, it definitely catches your attention, and fits the song perfectly.
The next track is "Lighthouse" which has a beautiful piano and string intro. I thought it would be a slow song, but it really isn't. "Lighthouse" has a strong beat, and the lyrics encourage us to reach the lost, saying, "It’s up to you, it’s up to me, To be the lighthouse, They should know they’re not alone, So shine so they can see the lighthouse, And find their way back home" This song is yet another example of Anthem Light's strong songwriting skills and powerful vocal ability.
"Freedom Into Slavery" was a track they recorded back when Anthem Lights was Yellow Cavalier, (more on that in my EP review) I believe it has been recorded for this release."Freedom Into Slavery" follows the lines of "Circles" in a way, speaking of how we can turn the freedom Christ gave us into slavery because of sin. This is another favorite, the guy's vocal ability shines through, and the song is just great anyway you look at it.
Rounding out the album, "Where The Light Is" comes next. "Where the light is, darkness must be bound, where the light is, darkness can't be found" is so powerful and true. We can't say in words how powerful God's light is over Satan's darkness. This is the perfect ending to the album, a beautiful ballad for the hurting and lost. A favorite by far.
Overall, I was very impressed with the debut album from Anthem Lights. In every song we get a sampling of the strong voices of Alan Powell, Chad Graham, Caleb Grimm, and Kyle Kupecky. In every song we get powerful, heartfelt lyrics that encourage and lift up each listener. Of course we get some fun pop music as well! Who says "boy bands" have to sound like the Backstreet Boys?
I would definitely recommend this album. It's suitable for all ages, all people, and all music lovers. The heart behind the album is evident. If you like pop music with a bit of rock thrown in here and there, "Anthem Lights" is for you.
The Grey | Posted April-28-2011 "The Grey" kicks off with "Carried Away", which has a very interesting intro. It's definitely "ear-catching" with an almost Asian sound at the beginning...however....it leads into some rocking guitars and even a yell. Icon for Hire is definitely harder, so if you like hard music, you will like Icon For Hire. The lyrics speak of going through hard times, yet being strong and pulling through. "Carried Away" is overall a decent song, I just find it doesn't break the mold to pieces. The lyrics really pull this song from about a 3 to a 5, and the music fits the song perfectly, it just seems a little too familiar. You know what I mean?
"Fall Apart" is one of my favorite Icon For Hire songs. Ariel's vocals are strong, and the music is also rock solid. "Fall Apart" carries on the theme of never giving up, declaring "Seize our families, take our homes away, we don't fall apart, we don't fall apart!" The only problem I have with this song is the guitar on the verses sounds a bit rough, but perhaps that's the sound they were aiming for. It's not horrendous, but it did catch my attention. The bridge gives us another yell, and it's a little creepy in my opinion, but it actually fills out the song quite nicely. I'm not exactly a fan of screamo, but I try to review cds fairly, regardless of the genre.
Rounding out the EP is another fantastic song, "The Grey". This song is simply AMAZING. The lyrics are really raw and relevant. The theme of this song is how we can be caught in sin, yet in our most horrible times, we are still loved by God. This song isn't quite a ballad, but does slow things down a bit. Ariel's vocals once again shine, and the music is beautiful. It's the perfect closer for the album.
Icon For Hire shows great promise, and I can't wait to hear their new stuff! If you're a fan of Flyleaf, Paramore, I Am Empire, etc, I think you will like Icon for Hire. Even if you don't like those bands, you WILL like Icon For Hire. Trust me. :) Look for their first album on Tooth & Nail July 26th!