NEEDTOBREATHE’s new album is ‘Hard Love’ (stylized as H A R D L O V E). It’s the sixth album from the veteran Christian rock band, and critics are taking notice of their first release since the Grammy nominated ‘Rivers in the Wasteland.’ Here’s a roundup of reviews.
The South Carolina-based quartet has long had a foothold in the contemporary Christian music world as ten-time Dove Award winners. Increasingly in recent years, they’ve been making forays into mainstream pop and rock. So much so that the band was even an opening act for the likes of Taylor Swift.
This time around, building upon the critical acclaim and success of 2014’s ”Rivers in the Wasteland’ — which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 — they’ve got an album that is on track to debut at No. 2 on the chart. That’s no small feat in the midst of a flurry of summer releases, not to mention Drake’s multi-week domination of the coveted No. 1 spot with his ‘Views’ album.
The band co-produced their new album ‘Hard Love’ and recorded it at their Plantation Studios in Charleston, South Carolina. Keyboardist Josh Lovelace, in a recent interview, noting that this album “was about us having fun making music again and allowing people more direct access to the music.”
He also spoke about how the band continues to reach a broader audience while saying true to their Christian values. He said, “I think for us, we just want to be honest about who we are, no matter what we are writing about. Music has become a way for us to talk about the things going on with us, whether that’s love, life, our faith, or whatever.”
The formula is unequivocally a success, as the new album is receiving not just commercial success, but critical acclaim. Here’s what the critics are saying about ‘Hard Love.’
“….Whatever the flavour, this is real music telling real stories that sweep you up and takes you along on a travelling journey from New York to Louisiana, from heart break to wonder at falling in love…..” — The Arts Desk
“…. On Hard Love, they fully grasp the Kings of Leon influence that has always bubbled beneath the surface and splice it with Ryan Tedder’s songcraft, making their best record since 2011’s The Reckoning. For the old-school CCM fans, there are still hints of devotion subtly woven into the lyrics, but overall, this is a 12-song collection to please everyone…..” — AllMusic
“….Over the course of a dozen songs, the band channels a little piece of everything that has worked in their career so far along with a variety of influences spanning the course of rock, pop, and synth to create a wholly unique listening experience that is an immediate contender for the best album of 2016…..” — Substream Magazine
“….H A R D L O V E is an album with many good songs and a few great ones, but as a whole, it doesn’t fit together as well thematically or musically as many of NEEDTONREATHE’S albums before it have. The relationship theme is there, but it’s not as cohesive as it could be. For individual moments of creativity and risk-taking, however, H A R D L O V E is still miles ahead of where other bands are…..” –Jesus Freak Hideout
Check back for more reviews as they arrive. And in the meantime, check out the NEEDTOBREATHE ‘Hard Love’ album cover art and music videos below.