Sounds like … energetic praise & worship that's reminiscent of U2, Tree 63, Coldplay, Keane, Starflyer 59 and Damien Rice.
At a glance … intelligent lyrics and an engaging pop/rock soundtrack make these Aussies stand out in an already-crowded marketplace.
After reviewing projects from independent artists for a while now, I can't help but recall that famous line about the "box of chocolates" from Forrest Gump whenever I pop an album into the CD player: "You never know what you're gonna get." A lot of them just aren't distinctive, and some are not so easy on the ears to say the least.
But then you occasionally come across one like Who Hopes for What They Always Had, the debut effort from Lifetone, which captures the attention from the first track and doesn't let go until the final note is played. The quality is indeed strong, but even more surprising is what Lifetone manages to do with the praise & worship genre. Rather than stick with tried-and-true sentiments expressed countless times before, the group pens thoughtful, original lyrics that stick with you for the long haul—imagine that.
The Brisbane, Australia natives start off strong with the anthemic "Salvation," which would sound perfect in an arena setting, evoking Rattle and Hum era U2. Yet before anyone dismisses the group as another U2 copycat, it soon segues into the kind of shimmering Brit pop/rock that we've come to expect from someone like Coldplay or Keane.
Not a bad place to start musically, and Lifetone is quick to showcase its diversity with "May My Life (Be a Song)" and the guitar-driven title track, which both slow the pace considerably. It's not an awkward transition from the upbeat feel of "Salvation," however. These coffeehouse-appropriate songs set a more introspective tone as the members of Lifetone reflect on what Jesus' death and resurrection means to them.
Continuing in this more reflective vein, the band changes it up yet again with the contemplative "The Night is Nearly Over" and the lilting strains of "Beautiful." More stripped-down and artful, like a combination of Starflyer 59 and Damien Rice, the band's versatility is commendable rather than distracting, making this project all the more appealing and noteworthy. Of course, those looking for cohesion and consistency to their music may be disappointed with Who Hopes For What They Always Had. Anyone searching for praise that enjoys a broad spectrum of sound, however, will find a kindred spirit in the eclectic artistry of Lifetone.
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