This week’s music review is a bit of a throwback to contemporary duo, for King&Country’s Grammy award winning offering, Run wild. Live free. Love strong. Described as “the modern voice of a new generation”, the brothers Smallbone have shaken off their critics with this sophomore album. Released in 2014, the album scooped up the Best Contemporary Christian Music Album award at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards; a much welcomed win after the disappointment of debut album, Crave.
With a fresh sound that could rival any of it’s secular counterparts, the new album holds a depth to it, giving listeners an inside take on what it means to cling to Christ, honing your God-given creative ability, even when you’re in a place of struggle and challenge. Album opener, Run wild, featuring well known Christian rapper, Andy Mineo, sets the scene perfectly. The well-crafted track is the perfect blend of hip hop and contemporary, with a smooth and easy to listen to hook that is sure to grab your attention.
Tracks like This is love and popular radio single, Fix my eyes, have a more pop-infused theme. The latter speaks about fixing your eyes on the One who sees everything! This high energy anthem was nominated for a Dove Award and again, is quite easy to get into.
I quite enjoyed the more anthemic finds on the album, such as Matters, which speaks about our all knowing God and To the dreamers — a song that was clearly written for the dreamers and visionaries, encouraging them to “keep on charging ahead.” It made quite an impact on me, with it’s straight-forward lyric, charging drum beats and chant-like vocals.
Another radio single, Shoulders, opens up with a snippet from Psalm 121. This ‘spoken word’ is featured twice in the album and sets a depth and meaning that spoke straight to my heart. The song’s style is best described as midtempo/worship and I especially love the chorus that says “I don’t have to see, to believe, you’re lifting me up on your shoulders!” This track is such a powerful, faith building, declaration and one that I really appreciated.
Another worship song that spoke to me was Without you. This heart-wrenching ode to God is said to tell a story of Luke Smallbones’s struggle to recover from a debilitating illness and features the angelic voice of his wife, Courtney. It is a vulnerable, passion-filled duet, that is both haunting and meditative.
The album is jam packed with insightful and well-crafted songs that deserve a listen. Tracks like Already home, bring a creative edge to the album. I loved the play on instrumentation and sound (they even feature a pipe organ on this one!)
The album closes with the organic sounding O God forgive us, which again features the pipe organ. The song is a cry to God, as the singer repents for not giving God the glory that He is due. It sounds as if it was drawn from a raw place that so many of us can relate to and is a perfect ending to an album that was written out of expectancy and yearning.
As a new fan of For King&Country I was pleasantly surprised at the level of complexity and wisdom found in each of these songs. Their sound caters to a diverse audience, but their lyric and intention clearly speaks of a desire to live a life submitted to God. I thoroughly enjoyed this album