Posted October 06, 2017
By CaitlinLassiter_NRT, Staff Reviewer
When they first appeared on the scene in 2014 with their debut EP Breathe In Deep, Carrollton's striking acoustic/pop sound immediately marked them as a group worth following. With their follow-up Sunshine and Shadows EP a year later, they continued to impress listeners with the seasoned talent they brought to the table on only their sophomore release. Now with the release of their first full-length record Everything or Nothing, the band takes another step in the superior artistry that sets them apart.
Opening track "Glimpses" is a standout moment with hints of a Lifehouse vibe, mixing lead singer Justin's raspy vocals with a rhythmic acoustic background for an all-around captivating sound. Lead single "Shelter" is another highlight on the record, displaying the boldness in Justin's voice while creating a sonic landscape that pulls the listener in. Always a group to infuse strong values into their songs, foot-tapping "Stand My Ground" acts as a follow-up of sorts to "Let Love Win" on their previous release: "It's not too late / all of this hate will start to change and turn around when love is where I choose to stand my ground."
Bringing the energy down briefly, title track "Everything Or Nothing" speaks to the importance of being fully invested, similar to the message of sonically laid-back "Giving It All To You" which encourages a life fully surrendered to Christ's plans. Upbeat "In Between" boasts thought-provoking lyricism for the mundane moments: "Show me the miracles in the simple / open my eyes to see that beautiful life is found in the journey in the days in between."
Worshipful "Rebuilder" and "Leaning In" serve as praise for the character of God, beautifully wrapped in simple acoustic settings that point the focus towards the message. Yet another high point on this record, vibrant "Promises" proves hard to take off repeat with its up-tempo reminder of God's faithfulness: "You come through like You said You would / I'm holding on for You are good." Piano-led "I Will Trust" closes the album with alluring harmonies and lyrics of bold faith in the face of uncertainty.
The Bottom Line: For me, Carrollton has time and time again proven their status as one of the most innovative and talented groups CCM has seen in a while. While they are a group that is still largely underrated, the remarkable artistry and seasoned sound Carrollton crafts into their music makes them a standout that always leaves me wanting to hear more. For only being their first full-length release, Everything Or Nothing is an impressive step in the sonic footprint Carrollton is making on this genre.
Song to Download Now:
"Promises" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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