Album Review: NEEDTOBREATHE – Rivers in the Wasteland

These country boys have soul! NEEDTOBREATHE (Bear Rinehart, Bo Rinehart, and Seth Bolt) are an eclectic band from South Carolina whose music combines the heartland feel of Americana with the power of alternative rock to deliver a powerful message with faith-based undertones. Their fifth studio album, Rivers in the Wasteland, set to be released on April 15th, replaces subtlety with the lyric-driven, passionate performances that have come to define NEEDTOBREATHE’s live presence. And it also gets funky! Just listen to the third song on the album, “Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now”.

The song starts with a rocking percussion jam of stomps and claps. It builds by introducing some screaming guitars and the pounding rhythm of the drum kit that saturates the rest of the song. By the time Bear Rinehart’s distorted vocals come into the mix, you will probably already be out of your seat and clapping along to the track. If you’re not, just wait until Rinehart screams “Don’t fail me now!” at the end of the chorus.

The album, however, still maintains the acoustic feel and inspiring lyrics that are associated with NEEDTOBREATHE. The first track on the album, “Wasteland,” features lyrics centered around hope and empowerment while an acoustic guitar carries the instrumentals of the song. “Multiplied” also contains a life affirming message, bolstered by stringed instruments.

The band took a break before creating this album, and their renewed spirits are reflected in their new material. Their previous albums had been primarily focused on recounting biblical stories and messages, having been comprised of prayer-like songs. Rivers in the Wasteland, however, is much more praise-driven. Rinehart’s earnest and powerful vocals make you feel the passion in the lyrics, and the hook-driven choruses convey the celebratory nature of the songs. Just check out “Brother.”

“Brother” begins as a woeful rock ballad but is lifted by gospel background vocals as it launches into the chorus with “Brother let me be your shelter!” And then comes the bridge. I mentioned that this album gets funky, right? The piano riffs and the “Oh’s” explode into a raw breakdown of drums and vocals, with Rinehart belting out the chorus that by now has worked its way into your heart.

In addition to containing thought-provoking and praise-inspiring tracks, Rivers in the Wasteland has the ability to make you move. The song “The Heart” has a rhythm-driven vibe that mirrors its lyrics, “Got’sta make hay when the sun is shinin’ / Can’t waste time when it comes time to dance.”

Overall, Rivers in the Wasteland makes a powerful statement from Southern rockers with soul. What other Christian rock band uses a lap steel guitar in their music? NEEDTOBREATHE beautifully combines passionate lyrics with hook-driven melodies and funky rhythms to create an album that will make you dance and sing “Hallelujah!” If you let it, Rivers in the Wasteland will take you on an inspirational journey. But make sure to leave yourself some time afterwards because you’ll NEEDTOBREATHE!

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: NEEDTOBREATHE – Rivers In The Wasteland | Above These City Lights

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