Leeland's critically lauded '06 debut Sound of Melodies was a very exciting first step in the career of one of the most talented new bands to come around in a long time. For a band as young as they were, it was genius. The music had contemporary Christian appeal, but drew in fans of more progressive rock bands. That is a hard bridge to gap, but they have continued their most unique conquest with their new record, Opposite Way. The sophomore release is more sonic, more energized, and more exciting. Even when the album slows down, it just feels more powerful.
Songs like "Brighter Days," "Falling for You," "Thief in the Night," and the album closer "May Our Praise" (which leads to a rousing conclusion), all exemplify this new level of emotional intensity wrapped in a quiet, peaceful shell. But it is not the only area in which Leeland has taken a step forward.
Opposite Way's opening track "Count Me In" feels a lot like a speeding locomotive. You feet are sure to be tapping to the chorus, and the energy projects itself throughout the rest of the record. Admittedly, a lot of Opposite Way is, in definition, mellow (Though sonically, it is anything but). But the tracks that do err on the side of "rock" are quite stellar in their own right. If anything, this album could have benefited from more of these kinds of songs. The aforementioned opening track, as well as "Wake Up" and "Don't Go Away" prove that Leeland has the ability to craft a song that is not only sonic, but quick and intense and exciting as well.
Lyrically, these Texas boys do not stray far from the beaten path, but that's not much of a bad thing at all. The eleven tracks present here are all worshipful in nature, and reflect an attitude that rejects the things of the world ("Running the opposite way") and acceptance of a new way of thinking about the way we think and operate ("Count Me In").
Selfishly, I would have preferred a few more songs that got my adrenaline pumping, but as the saying goes: better that they be asking for more, than that they be asking you to stop. Still, I think a little more energy is never a bad thing. But with that as my only complaint, it is safe to say that Leeland has crafted another excellent piece of work that is sure to be listened to long after 2008 comes to a close.- PReview date: 1/27/08, Review date: 2/24/08, written by Josh Taylor of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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