Seven Points about 7eventh Time Down's Latest
Posted August 31, 2015
By JJFrancesco_NRT, Staff Reviewer
1. Radio Ready
This album is ready for Air1 airplay. Start to finish, each song is polished with a rock sheen that is safe and accessible while providing just enough of the band's harder edge to keep fans interested, but mostly slowing things down enough to make their guitar-driven sound appealing even for most pop fans.
2. Compiled With Care
Despite being safe, this album is also sonically a triumph with song after song that resonates with engaging melodies, exciting hooks, meaningful Christ-centric lyrics, and an overall tight package that is compiled with care. This album was actually quite enjoyable and so far is one of the better things I've heard this year.
3. Heavy Hooks
The title track kicks off the album with a sure-fire hit and one of the best songs 7TD has offered yet. Thematically, the song is a winner. Showing how God is at work in our world, the song boasts a radio hook and a soaring chorus that is made for success, and the song only picks up steam as it goes. It's definitely an excellent kickoff to the album. Later on, "Pray It Down" stands as one of the album's harder cuts with the guitar hooks more front and center. It's definitely one of my favorites from the album. Those who miss some of the band's rockier cuts can still latch onto this one.
4. Christ Centric
It's impressive to see genuine rock still have consistently vertical lyrics. There's no "Jesus is my girlfriend" ambiguity going on here. Each of these cuts explicitly sings of our Creator, and whether in direct rocking praise or in recognizing the hand of God in our world, God is the consistent focus of the album. While I certainly respect and see the place for tackling other topics in the genre, it's nice to see that you can still have rock and Jesus on the same album.
5. Vocal Power
Vocalist Mikey Howard has a great rock voice. It sounds similar to others in the field, but it still packs the power and character to carry a band. Consequently, it's one of this album's strongest points. While it'd be easy for the band to slip into too generic of a niche, Howard's intense and passionate vocals keep things interesting and engrossing even when the music feels familiar.
6. A System that Works
On that note, while the album as a whole is strong and enjoyable, it is starting to feel like a formula of sorts is developing. After the smash success of the title track of Just Say Jesus, the band seems to have stuck close to what worked there. Several cuts have close sonic resemblance to previous hits, and when that sound was already in fairly crowded company, it is an obstacle to the album's overall identity. Luckily, the vocals and songwriting are enough to carry this album forward. So for this outing this issue isn't a big one, but it could be something to consider in subsequent releases.
7. Closing Thoughts
I've always liked 7eventh Time Down. They play well in the slightly edgy Christian rock arena. While there's certainly room for a more original stamp on future releases, this release has established the band as a powerhouse presence in the biz. More than just a hit or two, they're a consistent source of quality, vertical rock tunes. Some of the better parts of their sound may have been muted in favor of something that will play better on AC radio, but the band still oozes with musical quality and an inviting sound that makes me want to listen again. While raising my hopes for their future potential, this releases still satisfies on its own.
Song to Download Now:
"God is on the Move" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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