Apparently getting settled back into school took me a bit longer than I thought. That’s not to say that I wasn’t focusing on the pile of CDs I have to review. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Now that my graphics and design class has ended (and my life has come back), I can once again write about the music that I’ve been listening to for months. First on the list: NEEDTOBREATHE, a rock group out of South Carolina. If Coldplay, The Fray and Kings of Leon had a love child (interesting, I know) it would be NEEDTOBREATHE. The pointed guitar sound and driven voices mesh into a group that possesses some of the best qualities of its aforementioned “love parents.”
NEEDTOBREATHE delivers a full, smooth sound throughout the entire course of “The Outsiders.” Not a single song sounds too similar to the others, yet the track listing flows seamlessly. NEEDTOBREATHE offers a solid mix of rock, easy listening, contemporary Christian and even a bit of country twang. Apparently Donny and Marie Osmund aren’t the only two that are a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll…
Lead vocalist, Bear Rinehart, has the impeccable ability to switch from a husky belt to falsetto in a split second. Check out Won’t Turn Back to hear Rinehart’s voice mock the thought of a vocal break. The diversity of music present on “The Outsiders” is certainly a result of the musical talent possessed by the members of NEEDTOBREATHE. However, their obvious musical talent is not what separates them from most groups. While listening to “The Outsiders,” the passion the group has for their music and lyrics flows out of my speakers at the same volume as the composition itself. I can’t say that for a vast majority of popular musicians today. Listening to a group that has such a strong connection to their music is hard to come by. Somehow, NEEDTOBREATHE makes this clear on every single one of their 14 songs on “The Outsiders.”
Looking at the list of standout songs only capitalizes on the group’s ability to deliver quite a musical cocktail on one CD. Lay ‘Em Down, the fourth track on the CD, has an extremely full sound. Rinehart’s strong voice and the brief guitar solo come together to form one powerful rock piece. Hurricane delivers a completely different sound. Full of “woos” and a swanky, upbeat vibe, “Hurricane” is commercial enough to stand its own on an alternative radio station or one that plays pop. Stones Under Rushing Water features Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek and brought tears to my eyes when I first heard it. No, I am not a sap and no I was not having a bad day. It’s not my fault that this is how I react to a beautiful song. The last time this happened I was listening to The Prayer by Josh Groban and Charlotte Church. Embarrassing? Not in the least. Prisoner begins with the same chord progression as an Eminem song and is an amazing fusion of blues and rock. I can’t sit still while listening to it. Girl Named Tennessee and Something Beautiful hold their own, as well.
Not only has NEEDTOBREATHE created an extremely diverse musical track list on “The Outsiders,” the group’s love for what they are doing is present on the CD, as well. To learn more about NEEDTOBREATHE, click here.
Prisoner: (starts around 30 seconds)
Stones Under Rushing Water: (acoustic and sans Sara Watkins)