Although they saw early success, Rush of Fools have been known for their somewhat bland and boring acoustic guitar centered pop music. When I heard the first few seconds of the title track of their newest album, We Once Were, I thought perhaps the mp3 I was listening to was improperly labeled. Instead of acoustic guitars, I heard fast upbeat electric guitars; with distortion! Who is this band? A brief listen to the remaining tracks and I realized that this was indeed the same band who had released two rather lackluster, but popular, albums before.
The opening song and title track, "We Once Were," is an excellent choice to kick-off the newest album for the new sound of Rush of Fools. The song is about the band themselves, but it is also about all of us as Christians. It centers around the fact that life is in continual motion. Life is constantly moving forward and we as Christians should strive to improve our walk with Jesus. We should not be who we once were; we should not stay mired in the places where we were in the past. The song is also a reference to the obvious. These guys are not the same band as they were four years ago. They have transformed from a pop/contemporary group into a legitimate pop/rock band that even borders on the alternative at times. This is the perfect opening and anthem for the band newly signed to the eOne label.
"Come Find Me" keeps the pop rock coming with a song about the parable of the one lost sheep. Willis exclaims, "You're calling this sheep gone astray and I pray you'll leave the ninety-nine." The song is a prayer that God will come to rescue us even though we stray just as Jesus taught in His parable of the lost sheep. "Won't Say Goodbye" is the first hint of acoustic guitar found on the album. The verse is dominated by acoustic guitar, but the chorus brings back the electric guitars and distortion. This song also has a nice flow and a good sound.
The lead single, "Grace Found Me," is much more reminiscent of the old Rush of Fools sound. It's an acoustic pop song with some electric guitar and keyboard highlights. As I'm sure you can guess by the title, the song is about God's grace. Though it's one of my least favorite tracks, it is sure to receive regular play on Christian radio. The track that follows, "You're the Medicine," is one of the better tracks on the album. The songs speaks of God as the medicine to all that ails us and says, "You are, you're the medicine; not a sedative" and "You are, you're the remedy; the cure to this disease. I need You here with me; I need You."
"End of Me," "Beginning to End," and "Help Our Unbelief" are a few more solid pop/rock songs. "Help Our Unbelief" starts out with keys and builds until thirty-nine seconds in when the guitars kick in. The song is a prayer that God will help our unbelief in times of tragedy or in the worst situations life gives us; God's mercy is always near no matter what we are going through. "No Other Love" and "Inside and Outside" are also tracks that sound more like the first two albums. "No Other Love" is a catchy acoustic song that declares, "No other love looks beyond the things I have done that I'm not proud of. No other love lifts me up and holds me in its arms and lives within my heart."
While Rush of Fools hasn't rewritten the book on pop/rock, the growth displayed between their first two albums and We Once Were is drastic. Who knows what sparked the change in musical style, but it was much needed. A new sound, new label, good production, and solid lyrical content all spell out a solid third release for this group from Alabama. I for one am glad these guys aren't who they once were.
- Review date: 9/26/11, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com