Nevertheless are back with sophomore release In the Making…, an inspiring collection of anthems for the broken, hurting, apathetic, and seeking. Wanting to connect more with listeners, guitarist AJ Cheek explains, "We took our time to think about what we really wanted to say with our next album. We asked ourselves, 'What can we do to really touch people's lives, and not only make them think, but make ourselves think as well?" Their answer was to tone down their sound, making it more introspective and contemplative in nature, intertwining within it messages of hope, encouragement, and reflection.
My personal favourite on the record is actually the very first track, "Sleeping In." The use of piano is a new move for the band, but they integrate it well; musically, it makes for a great start to the album. "It's True" follows it up, adding violin to the mix, along with the guitars. Strangely, this combination works very well together (funny how a classical instrument can sound great in rock music); something often demonstrated with numerous other rock bands. We're finally treated to something resembling the old Nevertheless with "Cross My Heart," offering plenty of aggressive guitar riffs and a sound that's quite power-pop thematically.
The flow is slightly disrupted by "It's No Secret," the only track to strip it right back to just acoustic guitar. Lyrically it's a nice song, but purpose is let down a bit by its execution - explicitly, not melodically outstanding. However, "Rest" makes up for it, proving that Nevertheless can craft beautiful songs, the combination of violin and piano mixing well sonically. Also holding its own, "I Needed This" talks about how we don't have as much of a hold on life as we thought we did; in some ways you would be correct if you drew a few parallels between this and some of Relient K's more recent work, as it has some echoes of similarity.
Once, and only once, does the band take a break from the serious subject matter to launch into pop-punk love anthem "Longshot." It's refreshing to have something light-hearted in the midst of all the introspective-in fact, therefore a couple more songs in a similar vein would have been very welcomed and brightened up the album significantly. The remaining four tracks ("Augustine," "Topics," "When I'm Alone," and "I Found My Way Back Again") return again to the realm of reflection. Out of them, the real attention-grabber is "When I'm Alone," which is beautifully executed, and illustrates loss, trust and dependence on God.
One of the main highlights of In the Making… is the depth of its lyrical content all the way through. Themes of insecurity, loss, love, concealment, depression, and trust in God are all woven through the tapestry of the album, and it's uplifting. On the melodic side of things, Nevetheless have been going through quite a few changes, and they're mostly good. However, sometimes a few of the songs come off as a bit of a hit-or-miss attempt; flaws that could have been ironed out with more attention, as the band are more than capable of doing better.
By and large, In the Making… is a good follow-up to their debut, Live Like We're Alive, and shows plenty of maturity from them as a band. While not perfect, nor revolutionary, Nevertheless are definitely on the right track.- Review date: 9/14/08, written by Adam Dawson of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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