For King and Country
Joel and Luke Smallbone arrive to the scene pedigreed. Their eldest sister is Rebecca St. James with whom the younger brothers have spent many years touring. Older brother Joel has spent many Sundays in front of his church, Journey Franklin has had a profound effect on his worship writing. On “Crave,” they reveal their penchant for 80s dance pop and newer Brit pop influences. With a combination of vertical praise music and horizontal, relationship songs, For King and Country have made a strong debut that hopefully puts them on many stages, in front of kings and countrymen alike. Go to www.forkingandcountry.com for more on the band.
Since her days as the frontwoman of Chasing Furies and background vocalist with Michael W. Smith, Sarah MacIntosh has spent the past decade laying low on the touring front, but has steadily recorded, releasing four projects since 2004. Current is MacIntosh’s first release on the newly reformed Integrity Music and plays to all of her strengths—inventive, European-influenced worship music that defies classification. Fans of both Gungor and Imogen Heap will find much to love about Current, especially the catchy, childlike familiarity of it all. Read more about her at www.sarahmacintosh.com.
Fireflight is like a steady moving train. They may not move fast, but they continue to progress. I still think of them as a relatively new band, yet Now is their seventh project since they began in 2002. They’ve made their home comfortably somewhere between the poppy rock of Superchick and the aggressive grrrl power of Paramore. The skinny is that Now is not a departure from anything the band has done in the past, but rather more of the same, but that’s a good thing. Obviously, this is not music just for girls, but if you and your girlfriends prefer loud guitars to loud colors, Now could be the gift that keeps your fist pumping all summer long. Rock on at www.fireflightrock.com.
Seven albums in and Kutless are now veritable veterans of Christian music. At this point, they’re all 10 years older since their debut in 2002. Having endured some criticism that they’ve softened over the years, it’s obvious that they’re only maturing. Gone are the aggressive, post-grunge riffing. Now, the boys from Portland have polished their metallic sound to a brilliant, blinding gloss that invites all (not just rock fans) to join them in their brand of worship-focused rock. “Believer,” the album and the song is an exclamation point, declaring their faithful allegiance to the Lord, and “Carry Me to the Cross” may finally get the mentioned in the same sentence as Chris Tomlin or Casting Crowns. Hear why at www.kutless.com.—by Randy Williams