Release Date: August 5, 2014
Reviewed by: Micah Garnett
- Sweep The Leg
- BZRK (feat. KB)
- Show Love
- Time Stands Still
- Walk on Water (feat. Melodie Wagner of Hillsong Young & Free)
- Glow In The Dark
- Raised By Wolves
- Jet Pack Kicks
- Let It Be Love
- Everybody Lose Your Mind
- Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
- When Everything Changes
- Never Say Never
- This Is My Year
Time Stands Still is the story of two albums. With the departure of lead singer Soul Glow Activatur late last year, Soli’s brother and former drummer, Crouton, has taken over the lead vocal duties. Couple this with a recent signing to Word Records and you’ve got an all new Family Force 5. Fans might be wondering what this means for the band sonically and lyrically.
Let’s face it. Family Force 5 has been a much maligned band over the past decade. A lot of people were quick to brush the band off for their emphasis on partying and girls, but if you looked past those songs you’d find surprisingly deep spiritual content on songs like “Replace Me”, “Superhero”, and “Radiator”. Time Stands Still is the band’s most mature record by far, making no effort to disguise their message. The metaphors are still there, like in the song XRAY where Crouton gives his testimony, but the message is much clearer.
“You see through me. You are my X-ray.”
There is still plenty of partying to be had, and Time Stands Still has some of the best fun songs Family Force 5 has put out. “BZRK”, “Raised By Wolves”, “Sweep The Leg”, and “Everybody Lose Your Mind” are highlights. “Everybody Lose Your Mind” is bound to be a fan-favorite live song with Crouton channeling Adam Lambert on the pre-chorus. “Raised By Wolves” is reminiscent of something you might find on Business Up Front, Party In The Back. “Glow In The Dark” does a great job edging the line between fun and serious, and it contains the some of the best lyrics on the whole album.
“You energize me with a passion that could send me to war. Electrifying, from the heavens to the ocean floor.”
The more serious songs on the album, however, lack the punch that we’ve come to expect from Family Force 5. “Let It Be Love” and “Never Say Never” were clearly made for radio and they’re by far the weakest songs on the album. “Never Say Never” is a borderline worship song, but it doesn’t work in this case. If I had to guess I’d say these two songs were added because of the band’s signing to Word Records. They feel really out of place amongst the other much stronger songs. “Walk on Water” features Melodie Wagner of Hillsong Young & Free. Her appearance actually detracts from the song. The lyrics, the music and the vocals make the song sound like a bad VBS song, which is unfortunate. It could have easily been trimmed from the final track list and I doubt anyone would have missed it.
That being said, Time Stands Still’s track list is a massive 15 songs. Even with a few forgettable tracks, there are plenty more that are memorable. “Time Stands Still” is a nice chill retro throwback and my personal favorite song on the album. It feels like a natural sequel to Dance or Die’s “How In The World”. “Jet Pack Kicks” is filled with metaphors and pop culture illusions. The song makes almost no sense, but I smile every time I hear Crouton sing “Luke Skywalking, Marty McFlying.”
Time Stands Still isn’t completely sure what kind of album it wants to be. The lyrics can be painfully awkward at times, and the flow of the album is a bit strange with “Let It Be Love” right next to “Everybody Lose Your Mind”, but a few minor gripes aside, Time Stands Still is easily one of the best albums released so far in 2014. It’s miles better than 2011’s “III”, and Family Force 5 can only grow from here. Fans hoping for more of the same may be disappointed, but if you’re ready for a change, Time Stands Still has something for everyone. You don’t want to miss out on this one.
3 songs to listen to: Time Stands Still, Glow in the Dark, Everybody Lose Your Mind
RIYL: Manic Drive, Newsboys, Shonlock