Needtobreathe's 'Rivers in Wasteland'

South Carolina-based Southern rockers Needtobreathe released the group's fifth studio album, entitled "Rivers in the Wasteland."

Although the album has a slightly different sound to it, the band did not disappoint with this effort, the group's first since 2011's "The Reckoning."

When the rock tracks on the album, such as "State I'm In" and "Feet, Don't Fail Me Now," are mixed with lyrically-raw songs like "Wasteland" and "Difference Maker," the record shapes out to be another accomplished album for Needtobreathe fans to enjoy.

"Wasteland" is the follow-up to a film produced by the band on its YouTube account called "Prove the Poets Wrong." This film followed the band through touring this past year and records discourse between members of the band. The YouTube film was provided before the record was released to give insight to fans about where the band was at and how far they have come.

Lyrically, the album seems to capture the journey the band has been on since releasing "The Reckoning."

The album starts out with a song called "Wasteland." This song paints pictures of trials but also the hope seen within them in a verse that says, "In this wasteland where I'm living, there is a crack in the door filled with light, and it's all that I need to get by."

This song is a perfect opening track that sounds like the Needtobreathe fans have come to know, but it also leaves room for the band to bend.

Bending is exactly what happens in the next track, "State I'm In." The beginning of the song starts off as though it were a Beach Boys song before jumping into a rock song with a solid beat, while it continues the band's lyrical journey with, "I don't know what state I'm in, but we've got a ways to go."

This is followed by another rock track, "Feet, Don't Fail Me Now," and then the album slips into a Needtobreathe nostalgia with a song called "Oh, Carolina" — about missing home. This song displays the folksy tones mixed with Southern rock Needtobreathe fans have fallen in love with.

The fifth track on the album is called "Difference Maker," and it beautifully twists honesty and sarcasm into a song that leaks humility in every line. It is not a musically complicated song, but rather it points to the raw and pained lyrics of the "difference maker."

The journey of the album continues with "Rise Again," shifting the tone of the album from "a crack in the door filled with light" to "singing farewell king of the broken, so long my friend." The mood of the record turns from burdened to filled with light, and this lightness and peace can be heard in the joyful sound of "The Heart." The song creates a theme of thankfulness in the first line, "Ain't no gift like the present tense," shifting from singing for hope in the future to hope in the present.

This thankfulness is displayed in the most unique and fresh song on the album, "Multiplied." This track has a different sound to it than the rest of the album, with the opening of the track being a guitar riff and lead vocalist Bear Rinehart's voice, then a drum beat and choir coming in on the second verse along with the use of a synthesizer to create a very unique sound. The track "Brother" tends to put perspective on the discourse of the band in 2013, with the chorus saying, "Brother, let me be your shelter."

The album wraps up with "More Heart, Less Attack," an acoustic, folk ballad making a statement of peace at the end of a high-energy rock album and allowing the listener to take in what they've just heard and process the journey.

Source: The Daily Beacon by KELSI WALKER