Needtobreathe – Out of Body: Danceable Christian rock from a pared-down group
Christian rockers Needtobreathe’s latest album, Out of Body, is a first in two ways: the first album without founding member Bo Rinehart and first under new label Elektra Records. A spiritual experience is to be expected with its name and the history of the band itself. Church-friendly is not necessarily bad, though there is stigma associated with Southern American Christians. However, here, deep Southern country rock is redeemed.
Scratchy, raw vocals describing symbolic white horses have us riding up to Mercy’s Shore. Rather than being washed up there, as the song suggests, we are peacefully led there with banjos stacked full of country influence and a vocal timbre that eventually becomes soft before reaching again to a crescendo and finale. This is an introduction to the many layers of Needtobreathe if ever there was one.
Following the introduction, Alive is the first impression of the band. Fast-paced guitars and soothing harmonies literally make us feel alive – not to mention the honest lyrics. Family is still a main focus, despite the departure of vocalist Bear Rinehart’s brother Bo. The record is wholesome as can be, focusing on relationships between friends and family rather than romance, though, like everything else, it can be interpreted romantically. With the deep nature of their words, the Christian influence can also be interpreted differently.
Single Hang On is relatable no matter what part of life you’re in. We all need to be told to hang on and that things take time. Survival, featuring Drew and Ellie Holcomb, is in a similar vain, though much slower and chock-full of acoustic guitars. The three vocalists compliment the message perfectly and you can tap your foot in approval.
The titular Out of Body definitely takes listeners on a journey, whether that be to a place of foot-stomping to the catchy beat or actually out of body to truly absorb the track’s poetry. A highlight of the album, this song is definitely one that deserves one or one hundred replays, offering a different experience after each listen.
Some songs seem indistinguishable from the preceding tracks, like filler. There’s only so much an acoustic guitar and banjo can do. But the album is honest, if nothing else. Despite the current climate, this can be imagined in stadiums. But for now settle for a large, open living room with plenty of dancing space.
Photo: Brett Warren
Out of Body is released on 28th August 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Needtobreathe’s website here.
Watch the video for Who Am I here: