April 4 sees the release of Daylight, the debut album from South Carolina rockers needtobreathe. Although their sound will immediately draw comparisons to quite a few other big name groups, the way they blend these contrasting styles together is what makes this album so alluring. From the lively "Don't Wait For Daylight," with its addictive guitar-driven hooks and rhythmic chorus, to the powerful ballad "Haley," Daylight offers something for everyone, much like The Beautiful Letdown did for Switchfoot - except this is NTB's first album, and Letdown was Switchfoot's fourth.
The mouth-watering guitar hooks present in every song further add to the debut's overall appeal. While some artists depend on hooks to carry a tune to popularity, NTB builds a very appealing melody, fused with a no-nonsense message around each one. It is evident that a tremendous amount of work was put into the quality of Daylight. Every track is just as addicting but completely different from the one before it, which makes appreciating the whole album difficult because you can never seem to arrive at the end.
"Your Are Here," was the perfect choice for the album's first single. With an addictive intro, classic guitar hooks, and a perfect sing-a-long chorus, "I can see clear now, all I wanted, the time is right I know it, you are here," all of the components are present to make a number one hit. Most other songs on Daylight follow this same formula, and what seemed odd to me was how it still all managed to fit together perfectly.
"More Than" has quickly become a favorite song off Daylight. While sounding a lot like something Audio Adrenaline might write, the innocence expressed in the lyrics "I'm lost without Your love, I'm lost" perfectly sums up the condition of humanity. Unless Jesus Christ had compassion, how on Earth would we be saved? Sometimes, it is great to hear a message that isn't blanketed in something foreign, a message that is unmistakable.
While I hope the guys of needtobreathe use album number two to develop their sound and not worry so much about radio-play, Daylight is an astonishing first-effort that could not have come at a better time. With the demise of some of Christian music's greatest acts, it is reassuring to see one group stepping up to the plate with all they got. "You Are Here," and the three to four singles that are sure to follow its release, will go a long ways in establishing needtobreathe as CCM's next Switchfoot, but what they choose to do with their newfound popularity after that point is yet to be seen. All that's for sure is, I'll be ready to listen.- Review date: 3/30/06, written by Andrew Shaw
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