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The Best for Last
Posted April 18, 2015
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer

Children 18:3 is a Christian punk band from Morris, Minnesota. The band is composed of home-schooled siblings David, Lee Marie and Seth Hostetter. The lead vocals are shared by David and Lee Marie with their brother Seth on the drums. Their band's name refers to the Bible verse Matthew 18:3: "and He said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'"
The band has announced that their fourth album Come In is their final one, available everywhere April 21. Listening to the opening tracks "Come In," "Bethlehem" and lead single "Hold Your Breath," it's clear that the themes of the duality of mankind, our journey of life and people coming together to do good regardless of our differences runs throughout this excellent album, the best overall album by one of my favorite bands in any genre.

This album will have you hooked right from the opening notes of "Come In," which really sets the tone for this album. It is an incredibly catchy song with weighty lyrics about how a "white-haired Man with a fiddle and a bow" accepts us no matter where we "come in" from. I love the story-song lyrics, personifying God telling us "don't worry about your troubles, son, just remember what they're for... come in." 

"Bethlehem" features Lee Marie's stellar vocals, and "Arkansas Gold" shredding guitar riffs. The song has another infectious melody and lyrics that stick with me as I am challenged to think about whether there's "no room at the inn" in my heart for Jesus, as Lee Marie poetically describes: "salvation lies in a baby's cries in Bethlehem."
In "Don't Stop Moving," Christians can all relate to our unending second chances offered by God captured in David's vulnerable and sincere crying out: "I believe in freedom, I believe in a second try. You're never too far if you don't stop moving, so don't stop moving now... you can choose to follow now."

"Because of You" is sung by Lee Marie, and it is a rock-tinged worship song. I get choked up when I pray along with the prayerful lyrics: "Everything I am is because of You. Shed Your grace, shed Your grace on me, everything I am is because of You." The bridge, "America, America, God mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul, in self-control, Thy liberty in law" enhances the song's sincere vertical message.

The alt-rock edge of "Let There Be Light" frames an incredible song with energy and urgency. I love the emotional chorus: "at the edges of the shadow, close my eyes, close them tight, let there be light."

Lee Marie's vocals in "Watch Over Me" are emotive, prayerful and honest, which makes the words she's singing all the more powerful and moving. It connects to Proverbs 3:24: "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." Similar to "Why Are You Afraid of the Dark?" Lee Marie cries out, "Do you ever close your eyes for a moment to find safety? In the middle of the night, watch over me."

The last tracks really display the musical and lyrical excellence and intentionality of Children 18:3. As if the album wasn't amazing enough, the ending songs are as strong as the beginning with the standout autobiographical anthems "Great Big World" and "Long Ride Home." Both songs address the siblings' 13 year journey together as a band.
"Long Ride Home" is sung by Lee Marie, and it is achingly beautiful both musically and perhaps even more so lyrically. The song poignantly addresses listeners: "A little faith maybe you can sing along, if you're worried that some day's come and gone." The beautiful melody and lyrics are sincere and moving: "We've got a long ride, are you coming? We've got a long drive home... it's never goodbye, though summer is here and gone, we've got a long last song." I can't think of a better way to cap off an incredible album.

Closing Thoughts:
Come In is one of the most meaningful albums I've ever heard. Every song is absolutely amazing. I can't get the catchy melodies of many of these songs out of my head. The project is perfectly produced, and the song order brilliantly invites listeners to join in with the band on their journey. This album includes a strong mix of punk rock tinged music with inspirational and challenging lyrics. Don't miss the standout songs "Come In," "Bethlehem," "Hold Your Breath," "Don't Stop Moving," "Because of You," "Watch over Me," "Great Big World" and "Long Ride Home."
The very relatable and transparent words of these songs remind me of House of Heroes, who also use poetic imagery to depict our daily walks as believers wrapped around catchy songs. This album is loaded with incredibly tight guitar riffs. The mix of tempos is pure perfection, and the drum, guitar and bass syncopation is a thing of beauty. With this being their last album, I am going to miss the blend of David and Lee Marie's emotive vocals and harmonies layered over one catchy and meaningful song after another. This album is by far the most energetic and emotionally engaging alternative rock album I've heard this year. With Come In, in my opinion, Children 18:3 saved their best for last.
Song to Download Now:
"Because of You" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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