Last year, a little rap/R&B group named Group 1 Crew ventured onto the Christian music scene and surprisingly excelled quickly, garnering the group a nomination as New Artist Of The Year at the Dove Awards, and they received the chance to play at the awards show. G1C's debut did rather well, and the threesome quickly went out on tour and also started writing for their next album. Now, just over a year and a half later, the Group releases their much anticipated sophomore recording, Ordinary Dreamers, after teasing fans with a remix EP that featured two songs that also appear here.
Ordinary Dreamers takes the elements from the group's self-titled album and copies them, almost to a "T." While this album is drastically more diverse in sound, with synths and piano on top of guitars and drums, it's not anything we haven't heard from Group 1 Crew before. That's not to say the album is bad. It kicks off with the beat-driven "Movin', showing that this group can have fun and dance, keeping it clean and Christ-centered at the same time. Highlights on the record include the soulful rocker "Gimme That Funk," the powerful and lyrically-driven "Keys to the Kingdom," the bass-fueled "iContact" and the dance-party feel of "Critical Emergency." These songs tend to be about as good as Group 1 Crew can get, because the rest of the songs, like "Tonight," the musically out-of-place "Our Time," and the soul/jazzy "Closer" seem to have a much more melodic, slow feel than the group's debut had. Group 1 Crew incorporates many instruments and effects all the way through their albums, however, which gives them a bit of a creative edge, as evidenced on the innovative sounds of "Live Out Loud." It would have been nice to see something replace the two tracks from the remix EP released earlier this year, but placing them here ensures that new and old fans alike will hear them.
Overall, if you're looking for new rap/R&B to listen to, look no further than the sounds of Group 1 Crew. They've taken a continuously overdone genre of rap and R&B and incorporated lots of different instruments and sounds, and they've done it without forsaking the most important thing: the message. While their debut is a better place to start, Ordinary Dreamers showcases G1C doing what they do best: having fun and praising God at the same time.- Review date: 9/9/08, written by Justin Mabee
Record Label: Fervent Records
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