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The Reckoning
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4 Stars - Excellent
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Release Date
September 20, 2011

Style: Warm southern rock; compare to Kings of Leon, Sister Hazel, Third Day

Top tracks: "Oohs and Ahhs," "Drive All Night," "Slumber"

Needtobreathe comes out guitars blazing on its fourth album, a muscular collection ready to shake arenas but paint their corners with warm southern and Americana gentility. The opening "Oohs and Ahhs" sways like Joe Henry meets Kings of Leon down on Bourbon Street. The band deftly throws towering electric punches, then bobs and weaves to banjo, dobro, mandolin, piano, or even bagpipes—often covering the spectrum in one song ("Slumber," "Able"). Spiritual expressions are more subtle than past offerings and mostly rooted in longing and tension between brokenness and redemption. Needtobreathe's got swagger but isn't afraid to confess, "I'm just as strong as any man I know / I'm not able on my own."

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