Album Review: NEEDTOBREATE RELEASES LIVE ALBUM “LIVE FROM THE WOODS”

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!!!! 😉

3 thoughts on “Album Review: NEEDTOBREATE RELEASES LIVE ALBUM “LIVE FROM THE WOODS”

  1. Amazing album. Amazing band. Poor review. You compared every single song to another band. I get the concept, but you’ve gotta find another way to review things. Originality. Also, you need to listen to every one of their albums before you throw out something like “trying too hard to be the next big thing” and “cheesy”. They are the opposite. Every single one of their songs is original and incredible. Get to know these guys. Watch videos of them in the studio. I guarantee you’ll realize your mistake that you made with your “next big thing” comment. You need to listen to way more of their music before you say something like that. These guys can do anything from a foot stomping southern rock song, to an acoustic song with bagpipes used in it, to a straight up in your face rock sound, to southern blues, to gospel, to bluegrass sounding songs with a heavy dose of steel guitar, to mandolin-heavy country sounding songs, all with extreme originality and proficiency. You can’t formulate a real opinion on this band by this album. This album is incredible and seeing them live is an experience better than any album. You’ve got way more Needtobreathe to listen to. You need to get ahold of their B-sides, their newer albums, their oldies, and their live room EPs, AND you need to see them live. I think you had the right idea with this review, but if you have anything negative to say about Needtobreathe, then you went wrong somewhere. I don’t know how they’re able to consistently pump out masterpiece after masterpiece, but I do know that they’re incredibly talented beyond understanding.

    1. I appreciate taking the time to read my review and for your thoughtful comments. I am extremely impressed with your passion for Needtobreathe and their music, and in no way want to stifle that love with my opinions. Believe me, I get feeling defensive of music that means so much to you, while there is so much lame and contrived stuff getting so much press. To my defense, I compared less than half of the tracks on “Live From The Woods” to other bands. Despite that, I stand by using the names of other bands to help give readers a better idea of what the music sounds like. Besides that, I can’t think that there are many bands out there that wouldn’t be glad to share musical facets with the likes of U2, Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons and Kings Of Leon. I get that you didn’t appreciate the couple of negatives I added about Needtobreathe, but I am a critic and if I didn’t put the good and the bad that I hear, then I wouldn’t believe myself, and there was plenty of good too. I should also point out that this is just an album review, not an evaluation of the band, as people, or even their other music, although a live album is usually the best way to get a bigger view of the band’s sound and let’s you know how proficient they are in the live setting. I will try to listen to more Needtobreathe, but I can’t promise that I will hear what you hear since we have different experiences and influences that have developed our musical tastes. I can also tell you that I have accepted the truth that even my most favorite bands are made up of people, who have their own problems and issues, and they don’t do anything perfectly all the time, and the longer they are around, the truer that is bound to become. However, they are still my favorites. My hope is that you will keep reading my reviews and may find some music that you don’t know, that may catch your attention. By the way, if you aren’t familiar with all of the bands that I mentioned in the review, you may find them worth a listen on youtube, iTunes, etc. I am not suggesting that you will love them as much as Needtobreathe, but you may find more music to like. If there is one thing I have learned from listening to years and years and countless hours of music, is that there is always more to hear, and you can have as many favorite bands, as you want. I am truly inspired by the depth of your love for music and would really like it if you not only kept reading, but also kept commenting because it reminds to be honest with myself and that other people are as passionate as I am about music. THANKS AGAIN!!

      1. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my comment. I now understand more of what you were trying to do with your review. I maintain, though, that you are missing something amazing if you don’t look up Needtobreathe’s new albums, old albums, live room EPs, and B-sides. They’re incredible. I also highly suggest going to a live show of theirs. It’s a true experience. I’ll be sure to look up some of the bands you referenced that I haven’t heard before and get a feel for them. Again, thanks for the feedback on my comment!

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