Album: Rivers In The Wasteland
Year: 2014
Label: Atlantic, Word, Curb.

In A Word: Honest

NEEDTOBREATHE’s fifth studio album Rivers In The Wasteland is a record that commands your attention! You cannot pass by this record and not take notice. For the Australian readers who have not heard of NEEDTOBREATHE, are about to! Having previously toured in the US with Taylor Swift, they are now set to do eight shows in Australia with Christian heavyweights Third Day and the local (and very talented!) Levi McGrath. 

But if you already do know NEEDTOBREATHE, and their previous albums, then here’s the heads up: Rivers In The Wasteland is different. It is stripped back and what may have been more like anthems in the past are now more like lullabies.

From the first track it's evident that the commercial sounds of the past have been set aside for a more authentic southern folk-rock sound. Vocally, you will hear similarities with Caleb Followill (Kings of Leon), while the mandolins, banjos and harmonicas bring a rootsy Mumford & Sons 'stomp and clap' feel. There is even a touch of the Beach Boys in the opening of State I’m In

Rivers In The Wasteland is well set-out. The slow burn start of Wasteland quickly picks up pace throughout State I’m In, Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now, and Oh, Carolina, written about getting back home. Then, in just the perfect place, comes the best song of the album Difference Maker. The ballad allows time to ponder, giving you the chance to catch your breath before once again picking up the tempo with The Heart.

But be warned this album is something of a quandary. If you listen to only Christian artists, then this is a ‘need-to-buy’ album. It is refreshing honest, and light and will sit nicely alongside the works of the Rend CollectiveIf, however, you listen to a wider pool of music, then despite the high quality of song writingit does sound a lot like all the other bands that are clamouring to get aboard the new 'stomp and clap' commercial train...and that isn't so refreshing! Despite this, I like it. It's a keeper.