Release Date: August 19th 2014
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- State I’m In
- The Heart
- Difference Maker
- Devil’s Been Talking
- Something Beautiful
Needtobreathe, possibly one of the most unique, ingenious, emotive, poignant, lyrically impressive and artistic bands to ever be in both Christian and mainstream music since U2; have been able to use their platform in both Christian and mainstream music to deliver heartfelt melodies and songs that stir the soul. Releasing their powerful and chart-topping 2014 album Rivers in the Wasteland earlier in April, needtobreathe are back at it again, this time giving us the sounds of OceanWay Studios in their 7 song EP, titled 60/50 OceanWay: The Live Room Sessions. While it was not too long ago with the departure of long time drummer Joe Stillwell that the band thought about retiring; needtobreathe have nevertheless come through the other side, offering some of the most enjoyable, heartfelt and emotive songs of their whole career. With this 7 track EP offering some of their most enjoyed songs on their latest studio album, as well as standouts from The Outsiders and The Reckoning; this is an EP to be enjoyed and purchased (when it releases August 19th) by needtobreathe enthusiasts and lovers of great rock/alternative music alike.
To record in OceanWay Studios is considered to be an honour. Situated in Los Angeles, California, needtobreathe recorded in the same room as some of the greats- The Beach Boys, Tom Petty, Radiohead, Frank Sinatra and many more. With soul/CCM/pop vocalist Dara Maclean also recording in OceanWay studios in 2012, needtobreathe become the latest band/solo artist to create unique music in a studio that bands have dreamed of playing in. “State I’m In”, “The Heart”, “Difference Maker” and “Wasteland” were all standout tracks on their most recent album, and while I may have wanted them to record “Multiplied”, my favourite song from Rivers in the Wasteland, on the OceanWay record, these four aforementioned tracks still boast needtobreathe’s lyrical prowess and their ability to unite lovers of CCM and mainstream to listen to songs that have meanings applicable to people who enjoy both, or either, musical genre. With all the four songs virtually similar to their studio counterparts, it is the visual experience of the OceanWay videos that really capture the rawness and intensity that the band portray on the EP.
From themes like making a difference in the world that we live in (“Difference Maker”) and striving and figuring out what our heart wants and whether we’re chasing after the right things in this life (“The Heart”), to giving us hope in the journey with God on our side (“Wasteland”), and a moment of uncertainty, longing, hopefulness, and a slither of hope that we can be redeemed from the most unredeemable situations (“State I’m In”); needtobreathe’s lyrical quality is unlike any I’ve heard- since worship artists like Matt Redman and Delirious?, and pop sensations Newsboys (Peter Furler led), MercyMe and Nichole Nordeman. The 7 track EP then ends with standout songs like “Something Beautiful” (a plea to the Lord to create something beautiful out of the mess we often make), “The Outsiders”, the title track of their 2009 album, and one that brings to the fore the notion that we as Christians ought to be outsiders and set apart, and “Devil’s Been Talking”, a tongue-in-cheek melody reminding us not to fall and believe what the devil says about us; giving us a well-rounded collection of some of the band’s most celebrated and loved melodies from the last few years.
One of the most powerful and poignant bands currently in both CCM and mainstream music, needtobreathe have offered us a gem of an album in this 7 track EP, and one to be enjoyed by lovers of southern gospel or country music, with a rock and meaningful edge. With their popularity increasing ever since their popular crossover hit “Washed By The Water”, this southern-gospel rock band has given us songs with themes to think about as this band moves in the category of rock/southern/country bands that are some of my favourites, like Third Day, Rhett Walker Band, Crowder and Steve Grace. 60/50 OceanWay: The Live Room Sessions has a central theme of hope, encouragement and delving into the more important things in life, as Bo, Bear and Seth capture the rawness and realness of the songs and remind us why they are still one of Christian music’s top selling band currently!
3 songs to listen to: Difference Maker, Outsiders, The Heart
RIYL: Third Day, Switchfoot, Brooke Fraser, Rhett Walker Band, Lifehouse