Red is among the few bands out there (even more so in the Christian music) that generate a sound that mixes orchestrated sounds and hard rock. The first time I heard their debut album, I knew this band was going places. Months later, "Breathe Into Me" was being played consistently on mainstream radio. Close to three years later, Red brings us their next chapter, Innocence & Instinct.
Original fans will feel right at home with first track, "Fight Inside," as it flows a lot like "Already Over" from End of Silence. The song basically covers our struggle with making decisions. "Death of Me" is one of the least memorable tracks found on the album. It's not a bad song by any means; it just doesn't have any hooks or lyrics that seem to stick. The album seems to really start moving once the third track, "Mystery of You," emerges with a really strong intro. "Start Again" gives the listener hope and lets them know that God is there to give us another chance, "what if I let you in/ what if I make it right/ what if I give it up/ what I want to try/ what if you take a chance/ what if I learn to love/ what if we start again."
"Never Be the Same" has radio airplay success written all over it as it is the softest track found on the album while also being very easy to get into the chorus. "Confession" sounds like a tune that could accommodate a Playstation 3 commercial with its aggressive sound and in-your-face vocals from Mike Barnes. Lyrically, the song focuses on how someone wants to change their life for the better: "I'm on the edge/ I don't know how/ I can't escape this nightmare/ I confess- I'm always afraid/ I'm always ashamed of what's inside me/ I confess- I'm always afraid/ I'm always ashamed of what's inside my head/ take this away." "Shadows" is one of the highlight tracks on the album and may remind the listener of Linkin Park's "Breaking a Habit" before evolving into its chorus. And while some people don't like cover songs. I, on the other hand, welcome new renditions if done right, and Red's cover of "Ordinary World" by Duran Duran is a great example. Red saves two of the best tracks for the end of the album. "Out From Under" displays intense music accompanied by Barnes' vocals filled with intense emotion. This is easily the best song on the album. The closer, "Take It All Away," is a complete departure from the rest of the album as it is a very haunting track that surprises the listener towards the end as Mike Barnes shouts the line: "You take away." This is a perfect example of how a song can be simplistic, yet great at the same time.
A sophomore album is always the ultimate test for any band who presents three possible scenarios: can any improvements be accomplished in the second album, will it be as satisfactory as the first album, or will it give the band a chance to redeem themselves. Red has evolved and succeeded in bringing listeners an album that should impress fans and newcomers alike.- PReview date: 11/22/08, Review date: 2/7/09, written by Wayne Myatt
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