Back in the early days of the growing Christian Music market, where bands like the extraordinary Daniel Amos, Resurrection Band, Barnabas, and the enduring Petra had to work with studios not up to big-label recording technologies. Consequently, production qualities were not as good as secular productions. Some years back, all of that changed with the acceptance and ascension of Christian bands with positive messages by the mainstream. This makes most CCM bands that are current in musical styles extremely viable to their audiences and to radios seeking to expand their reach and spread. With all of that, big label entities like Atlantic, who shelter and distribute edgy in-house labels like Lava (as in this case), become very interested in potentials that this market now yields.
Lava Records’ entry is NeedToBreathe (a visually expressive name that expands on the band’s stated themes). Two brothers, both of whom are rooted in music since their early youth, and who practice positive lifestyles enhanced by understanding and nurturing parents, lead the band. They seek to express the belief that a needed change to a life that needs change is easily effected. All is required is the determination to become something else and then make the immediate turn onto the new path chosen. It’s good advice for a world that needs to push ahead rather than remain mired in anguish.
Musically, NeedTo Breathe is pop/rock with an emo twist, melodic, and full-bodied. There are nods to U2 and even Keane in some of the songs but leaving plenty of room for individuality. As a matter of fact, think Keane, sped up to flow with traffic. Lyrically, NeedToBreathe looks at love – broken, lost, and regained – as well as mercy and saving grace. Melodic guitars and piano carry all of these thoughtful and emotional lyrical outputs. I particularly enjoyed “”Over Now,” “You Are Here,” and the beautiful “Shine On.”
This big label debut from NeedToBreathe is an excellent album and all indications are that we can expect more excellent music from this 4 piece band that thinks beyond the moment. Recommended.