For this week’s new releases, I had originally planned to sample every new album I could, but was already, pretty set on the new release by Monophonics out of San Francisco. I had seen these guys a couple of times, just a few years ago and was blown away by their energetic sixties and seventies soul / funk sound. Their new album “The Sound Of Sinning” seems like a solid release, but I couldn’t help but lose some of my enthusiasm when I heard how slow most of the tracks are. On the other hand, I was quite compelled by the high energy set of music on NeedToBreathe’s new release “Live From The Woods”. I had heard the name of the band over the years, but had never heard them, before now. Upon initial sampling, I was taken by how much they sounded like a melding of more than a few bands I have been listening to for many years. Though there were limits to how much of the double-live album by NeedToBreathe I could hear, I figured this was the album to review.
The live set of music started with “State I’m In”, which begins with a bang and helps you visualize the live setting with a sea of smiling faces feeling the music. Reminds me vocally of Kings Of Leon, energetically of U2 and the more rootsy feel of the Hothouse Flowers.
Sure sounds like the theremin gets some play at the beginning of “Wanted Man”, until the song really gets going, with a driving, mostly-acoustic assault on anything that isn’t full of joy. I like the song and feel the energy, not to mention the addition of the chorus from Modest Mouse’s “Float On” at the end of the tune.
“Drive All Night” sounds like Mumford & Sons brand of rootsy istrumentation with the lyrics and rock sensibilities of a Kings Of Leon.
“Difference Maker” was one of the songs that drew me to NeedToBreathe and this live album. The lyrics are poignant and lean a little toward the Christian rock genre, but seem obscure enough not to put-off anyone with a lyric like “I am the friendliest of friends of God”.
I hate to say it, but “Multiplied” was where I became alarmed by the Christian rock lyrics and concept. I was sold that I wanted to see them live, until I recall those commercials for the Christian Rock compilations and try to picture myself next to all those folks lifting their hands to the heaven and singing along,…. and……. I can’t. This is the point that I went back to find-out how I missed anything that indicated that this was a Christian Rock outfit. I didn’t miss anything. They claim to be a rock band out of South Carolina, and even say so on the album, but nowhere on their sites do they mention God or their religion, but Wikipedia knows it.
“Oh Carolina” gets back to the stompy southern rock, with a thousand hands clapping. From my notes, I can tell I was still recovering from the shock of having picked an album by a Christian Rock band and knowing that I still had more than half of it to listen to.
With their religious cat out of the bag, “Wasteland” pushes the point. Despite that, I can’t deny that I appreciate the sentiment of a lyric like “If God is on my side, who can be against me”. This cut is much slower, with a big build nearer to the end.
“Keep Your Eyes Open” is the first track on the second disk, and gets more pop rock than the first disk.
There is a southern gospel feel to “Washed By The Water” along with some dirty southern rock and wailing electric guitars. There is a little more rock redemption with the short lived cover of ZZ Top’s “Waitin For the Bus” at the end of the song.
“Something Beautiful” is not my favorite tune on the album. The lyrics are cheesy and the sound is more like 3Doors Down.
There is something southern rock meets modern country about “Girl Named Tennessee”. This is a fun, upbeat tune!!
“Brother” has a more stripped down and slightly less energetic vibe. It is probably more Daughtry than Kings Of Leon, but the fans seem to only care that NeedToBreathe is on stage, as they clap and sing along.
The Of Monsters & Men vibe of “The Heart” gives way to something a little more acoustic pop, like maybe Twin Forks.
There is absolutely no doubt, that these guys are quite proficient players and the basic sentiments of “The Outsiders” are appreciated, not to mention a sprinkling of harmonica around the mid-way point.
NeedToBreathe combines the sounds of the Avett Brothers and Band Of Horses on “More Heart & Less Attack”. It is a good introspective number with lyrics that seem like something worthy of Brett Dennen. It gets a little more gospel about half-way in.
There are a couple bonus tracks, including the driving beat of “Feet, Don’t Faill Me Now” and the stompy roots music on “Devil’s Been Talkin”.
I would like to start by saying that I am a fan of gospel music and have seen gospel blues artists and gopel bluegrass bands. Despite that fact, I like to be made aware when there are lyrics that might throw me off of my game. NeedToBreathe consists of four guys, two of them are brothers, who are all the most incredibe musicians. Some of the album is cheesy and trying to hard to be the next big thing, but as much as much as I may not want to admit this, it is pretty good. If you like the more indie rock side of the music world and aren’t put off by some blatantly Christian lyrics, then you should check out “Live From The Woods”. That’s What I Know So That’s Whatt You Know!! Enjoy!!
Happy Listening!!!! 😉