Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Music Review: Newworldson - Newworldson

Genre: Pop/Rock/Funk/Blues/Reggae, etc.
Label: Inpop
Release Date: February 23, 2010

Rating: 3/5

Having never been exposed to Newworldson’s first release, Salvation Station, I have no basis for comparison to that album. My introduction to the band, then, was the first song off their newest, self-titled album. That song, “You Set The Rhythm,” begins with this line: “I was unlucky in love / I didn’t know what a heart was / I felt it beating in my chest / But my best definition was a blood pump.”

Luckily, songs like “Listen to the Lord,” “There is a Way,” and “Total Eclipse” are much better in the lyrical department. Depth of lyrics is clearly not the main attraction with this band, however. Their unique combination of styles (rock, pop, funk, blues, even reggae and others) is fascinating. Some of the album didn’t really appeal to me stylistically, but there is a joy in thankfulness to the Lord that comes through clearly. In many ways, the album is a celebration of God’s goodness through the diversity of musical style.

This diversity makes it somewhat difficult to pinpoint musical references if, like me, you’ve never heard Newworldson. “There is a Way” sounded to me like I was listening to Jimmy Needham, who they’ve toured with. I very much enjoyed this song. Other songs, heavier on the funk/rock side, reminded me of a band a few years back called Hyper Static Union, although I think Newworldson sounds much more polished. Many of the other songs borrow bits and pieces of other styles and influences, meshing them together.

Other songs that stood out were “Jamaican Praise Melody,” with its island praise feel, and “O Lament,” which utilizes an extremely toned down drum beat with a subtle piano riff that sounds directly out of a movie soundtrack. Very interesting to hear these types of songs back to back. The diversity is nice, but it also kept the album from feeling completely cohesive to me. Some of the styles used weren’t that musical interesting to me, but many will seriously appreciate a Christian band branching out this much. Newworldson definitely doesn’t sound like your typical Christian band. For that, I commend them.

Due to that fact, I can see this album taking off for them, and I hope it does. I’m all for a band pushing the Christian music industry away from the same old styles and clich├ęd writing. This album definitely tries to do that. Overall, though, there just weren’t enough great songs to keep me overly interested throughout, despite the diversity. As I said, though, that might just be my tastes, so I recommend checking them out for yourself if you’re looking for something different.

*This album was provided for review by Inpop Records.

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