Release Date: July 24th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Keep It 100
- Out Of My Head
- What If We
“…We want love to be our language and to create music that touches and uplifts the soul of those who hear it…We want to express the presence of God’s unconditional love and how He does not love us halfway, He loves us all the way. He’s not like humans who love conditionally, He loves us all of the way and all of the time…” Musically and vocally similar to Anthem Lights and Royal Tailor, independent CCM/pop trio 3For3 have unveiled their debut EP titled The EP a few weeks ago, via Maxx Recordings. Though there is a glut of ‘boy bands’ if you would call it that way, lead singers Spencer Lloyd, Benji Shuler and Josh Davis have provided us with 5 songs of diversity and lyrical impact as we are reminded about God’s unconditional and extravagant love. Releasing on the same day as Israel and New Breed’s new live album, 3For3’s release, highlighting the fact that pop music can be lyrically sound as well as catchy at the same time, is something that you all should check out, as we praise the name of Jesus and glorify His name.
Opening the album is the guitar led rock melody “Keep It 100”. Driven by synth and remix elements, as well as programming, Josh, Spencer and Benji brilliantly share the vocals all around as they remind us all that living a life for Christ will ultimately present a visible outward change to others around us. Encouraging us to be authentic in everything we do, we are covertly instructed to ‘…keep it 100, got my eyes on the prize and my hands to the sky…my heart is on You and my foot’s on the gas, I’ll shout it aloud to everyone who’ll pass…’. As the trio ardently profess their testimony and their urgency to spread the good news wherever they go, the opener is fitting as we are introduced to a band on fire for Jesus.
The remainder of the album also highlight the band’s relevancy and lyrical genius in both Christian and mainstream markets. The bouncy synth driven dance anthem “Out Of My Head” is a prayer of admission of fault, and a fervent cry for God to remove all negative thoughts from our heads, and replace them with thoughts from Jesus, and thoughts of the happier things in life. As Benji, Josh and Spencer eloquently express to God to ‘…get them out of my head, all these thoughts keep chasing me, these lies make it hard to see…all these fears are breaking me, a place with insecurity, so I’m running to You…til you come rescue me, Your peace is all I need…’, we are reassured that we can bring to God whatever is on our hearts and He will provide us peace beyond all understanding and comprehension. Perfect for the dance floor with plenty of synth and remix elements, the lead single arrives as the midpoint of the album. “Halfway” challenges us and is by far the most lyrically confronting melody on this short EP.
As the trio ask us whether we are living for Jesus and living the Christian life halfway or all the way, comforting word of wisdom arise in the chorus outlining that ‘…you keep my heart beating when it’s broken, you keep me on the move, even on the darkest day, I know You will never fade, you’re gonna finish everything You started, You’re gonna see it through, even when the seasons change, You don’t love me, You don’t love me halfway…’. God’s love for us last forever and extends pasts our deepest and darkest secrets, all of our faults and our mistakes, and it does bring us solace, security and relief to know that what we do doesn’t have a bearing on how much God loves us. He just does because we are His. What a profound message from a stellar mini-album thus far!
While “What If We”, a pop/CCM piano driven melody, poses questions, and asks about the fact that we as Christians should live life as active as can be, as people in the story rather than on the sidelines, as we ‘…live like our time is borrowed, love like there’s so tomorrow…dared to be what we believed…be the ones with hearts wide open, speak truth where lies are spoken, be a light so bright they have to see…’; the final inspirational melody “Counterclockwise”, a reggae r&b and rap flavoured melody, encourages us to live for Christ even when everyone else isn’t. We should live a live counterclockwise to the world and the views of it, and 3For3 skilfully encourage us to step up and stand out for God, even and especially when it is hard.
Though my only complaint of 3For3’s debut EP is that it was too short! With Spencer, Benji and Josh delivering high quality songs and poignant melodies for God, this album is one to be savoured and enjoyed throughout this year and many more to come. As it’s inevitable that 3For3 will be signed in the near future, let me be one to say that you guys should check them out- I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed! Well done guys, I look forward to your next album, whenever the album releases!
3 songs to listen to: Keep It 100, Halfway, What If We
RIYL: Royal Tailor, Anthem Lights, Plus One, TobyMac, Group 1 Crew