Release Date: July 15th 2014
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Power of the Cross
- Who You Say You Are
- In With the Out Crowd
- Right Now
- He Won’t Stop Loving You
- S.O.S. (Hope Won’t Let Go)
- I Hate Hate
- Soldier On
- Reason for Breathing
‘…we learned from a study that Jesus carried His cross about a mile, and that’s where our band name comes from. When we felt called to play music for the rest of our life, there was never any doubt that we would do it for His glory and treat our ministry like He did when carrying the cross…’ The newest signing to Word Records, About a Mile, have used the fact that Jesus carried his cross about a mile to the cross, as a basis and a central point to what they want their band to be about. Readying their self-titled debut album release on July 15th, About a Mile is probably one of the new artists, alongside Centricity Music’s Lauren Daigle and indie artists Chayah Miranda and Jordan & Kristin Rippy; that I am the most excited for in 2014 so far. Usually new artists release a few albums and then fade into the oblivion (think Nate Sallie, Krystal Meyers, Inhabited, Phil Stacey, By the Tree and Fee), which is sad.
But once in a while, a band comes out of nowhere to deliver a great debut project, which is exactly what About a Mile’s debut project is. Reminding me vocally like Jason Wade of Lifehouse; About a Mile consists of the Klutinoty brothers- Adam, Levi and Luke. Never have I been more excited for a debut project from a band since for KING AND COUNTRY’s debut 2012 album Crave. With standout songs like their first single “Satisfied”, to the personable and heartfelt “Who You Say You Are” and the Boston bombings inspired “I Hate Hate”; this is a band that’ll certainly go far within the CCM industry, especially on a label and in the company of other stellar artists on Word Label Group, like Skillet, Switchfoot, Meredith Andrews, Francesca Battistelli and for KING AND COUNTRY.
The first single (and first track) on About a Mile, “Satisfied” launched to radio earlier on during the year. A song that encourages us all to be only satisfied with Christ as we seek after Him in everything that we do; lead singer Adam cries out ‘…let Your song be the song I sing, through the blessings and burdens this life will bring, in You alone, I’m satisfied…’, with fervent passion and a vocal similar to that of Jason Wade of Lifehouse, as About a Mile quickly becomes one of the most popular and publicised new bands in 2014. As we see the heartfelt and emotive story behind the song that makes it much more poignant to hear, and how ‘…I was fasting from food and just drinking water during my illness, slowly realizing that as long as we have Jesus, we will always be satisfied…’, this guitar driven melody has fast become one of my favourite songs of the year, and a song to listen to if you are a fan of artists like Lifehouse, for KING AND COUNTRY, Colton Dixon or Abandon.
The most personal song on the album, “Who You Say You Are”, is birthed out of Adam’s personal testimony. Written from a place of urgency, vulnerability and brokenness, we hear the desperation present in Adam’s voice as he powerfully asserts that ‘…I know, you are who you say you are…’, a statement we all have to dwell upon and really believe for ourselves- do we really believe that God is who He says He is? With light acoustics and a passion in Adam’s voice; “Who You Say You Are” is a melody certain to thrive on radio- maybe even as the second single, as Adam unveils a moment in his own life in which the song was borne- ‘…at my lowest point, I held a Bible in my left hand and a gun in my right hand. I knew I wasn’t going to kill myself, but it was in that moment of desperation when I just held the Bible close to me and finally felt that He does love me…’ Hearing Adam’s testimony has given me a new found enjoyment for the song, making both “Who You Say You Are” and “Satisfied” some of my favourites on the album, and songs that form an anchor, lyrically and musically, on About a Mile!
While I reckon both “Satisfied” and “Who You Say You Are” are in fact my favourite and arguably the songs that stand out on About a Mile the most, Adam’s Jason Wade-esque vocals ought to warrant a listen to the entire album, as we see a snapshot of a band of brothers with a story to tell about God’s unending grace. “Power of the Cross”, sandwiched between my two favourite tracks, tells us a story of the personal faith of the brothers, as we see inside and understand what it means for us to declare the cross to be powerful, not only over what we do and how we live, but in what we believe. In knowing that the risen Christ has given us life- thus the power of the cross and the empty tomb; we can rest assured, knowing that our salvation is secure. The light acoustics and powerful Jason Wade-esque and John Cooper-like vocals of Adam, this CCM melody is a starting point where we as the questions of ‘…what could break, what could ever separate all You’ve done for us…who could ever take away the power of the cross…’
One of the most rockiest songs on the album, the electric guitar heavy track in “In with the Out Crowd” is a calling for us to stand out for our faith, and that sometimes we are asked to stand out- be ‘in’ with the people who are classified as ‘out’- a song that could even be classified as a ‘Jesus Freak’ for this generation. The last song written for the album, Adam and the band hit the mark quite well music-wise to present an alternative track to keep rock enthusiasts interested in an album that quite literally has styles for a variety of music genre lovers. About a Mile also employ upbeat melodies in “Right Now”, a synth-guitar Lifehouse-esque song that encourages us to stop worrying and wondering about what we can do about the injustice in the world and just to start making a difference. A song to encourage us to stop worrying and start doing, what the song lacks for in length- it’s only a tad below 3 minutes; it makes up for in enthusiasm and passion.
Also delving into themes like love, loss and hope in the relationship inspired and piano prominent “Oxygen”, trusting the Lord in circumstances where hope is far beyond what you might be feeling or even experiences (“S.O.S. (Hope Won’t Let Go)”), and the thought that we couldn’t come to God because we’re not good enough, but told the exact opposite in “He Won’t Stop Loving You”; About a Mile continue to peel back the layers to unveil theme after theme where we experience a realness and rawness to the album that is one of the most impacting since Jason Gray’s Love Will Have the Final Word. “I Hate Hate”, “Reason for Breathing” and “Soldier On” continue on the trend of upbeat and 3 minute or less songs, as Adam and the band divulge the themes of hating the evil and sin the world, declaring to God that He is our reason for existing and breathing- even if we don’t believe it ourselves, and carrying on in our lives no matter the circumstance, respectively; while the album ends on a great note in “Trembling”, a worshipful track that allows us to be honest, real and open before the Father. Written in a span of 2 minutes, a song about surrender is a perfect way to end an album full of life applications and a great snapshot into the ministry of the Klutinoty brothers.
One of the most anticipated album releases of 2014 (by a new artists)- in releases in a few days- About a Mile’s debut is one of my favourite albums in July so far, and an album fit to be declared one of my favourites by a new artist on a label- alongside others from artists like Unspoken and The Fellowship Creative. With the continued success of About a Mile through their song “Satisfied”, this self-titled debut is certain to continue to create new fans of the band (including myself), as I liken About a Mile’s success to that of Everfound in 2013. From “Satisfied” to rock anthems like “In with the Out Crowd”, “Soldier On” and “I Hate Hate”, About a Mile encompass a wide range of genres, that it is almost a sure thing that their album will be well received for its uniqueness and diversity music-wise. A nomination for both the K-Love Fan Awards and the Dove Awards for New Artist of the Year? Well done guys for such an inspired and emotive album!
3 songs to listen to: Satisfied, Who You Say You Are, S.O.S. (Hope Won’t Let Go)
RIYL: for KING AND COUNTRY, Lifehouse, Switchfoot, Abandon, Skillet