BY BILL SMITH STAFF There are very few bands these days that compel me to purchase their new CD the day it is released. With that being said, the number of artist who has debuted within the past ten years is even smaller. But when Needtobreathe released their latest effort “The Reckoning” (Atlantic Records) on September 20, I was eagerly awaiting that Tuesday morning to part with my hard earned cash.
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This has been a banner year for the boys from South Carolina who have landed the opening spot on Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now World Tour,” and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Wednesday September 14. The foursome, led by brothers Bear (Lead Vocals, Guitar, and Piano) and Bo (Guitar, Backing Vocals) Rinehart, also includes Seth Bolt (Bass, Backing Vocals) and Joe Stillwell (Drums, Percussion) do not disappoint on this, their fourth major label release. After 2009’s “The Outsider’s,” many were doubtful that the band could follow up such an effort creatively, but the band has successfully crafted a modern masterpiece that is a natural progression from their previous album and in many ways surpasses it.
I would classify their style of music as Post Modern Southern Rock, somewhere between Kings of Leon and Will Hoge with a little bit of U2 thrown in for good measure. Truth be told, the Kings could learn a few lessons from the boys in Needtobreathe. Both bands rely on hook heavy, mantra like choruses, and the southern influences are obvious. While both band borrow very heavily from the U2 playbook the two things that separate Needtobreathe from so many of their peers are their lyrics and musicality. Bear Rinehart has a natural ability to craft each song with poignant lyrics, yet never compromises the integrity of the music. This is a rare gift for many people who bare the burden of penning all the songs for a band solely on their shoulders. Rinehart truly is one of the finest songwriters of this generation.
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Prominent songs on the album include the first two single “Drive All Night”, which the band preformed on The Tonight Show, and “Slumber”, along with “Oohs and Ahhs”, “Devil’s Been Talking’”, and the title track “The Reckoning”. With fourteen tracks on this album, there really isn’t one song that is weaker then another. The album is very consistent, and one of the few records in recent years that is an enjoyable listen from beginning to end.
This album is full of wonderfully arranged and melodic music. The musicianship the band displays is convincingly real. In a day and age, where computers and machines have replaced musical ability, it’s nice to hear a band that can perform their own instruments to create a unique and splendid artist expression. “The Reckoning” was produced by Needtobreathe, and Co-Produced by Rick Beato, who has worked with a number of artists including from Shinedown and Crossfade. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this CD. I reckon you won’t be disappointed. Grade: A E-mail Bill at: email@example.com Follow The Lake County Sentinel on Facebook at The Lake County Sentinel or Twitter @LCSentinelcom POSTED 09/28/2011 00:58