NEEDTOBREATHE’s “Rivers In The Wasteland” Review

NEEDTOBREATHE's

After three years of wondering where they stood as a band, NEEDTOBREATHE has released their fifth studio record, entitled Rivers In The Wasteland. During their half hour movie (Prove The Poets Wrong), released in December 2013, the band explained how they were struggling and how they weren’t sure if they were going to release another record. Their long time drummer, Joe Stillwell, left the band after 13 years in 2012, leaving the band in a bad spot. At the end of the movie, they told everybody about how they were making a fifth studio record, untitled at the time. Four months later, Rivers… has hit us, and it certainly isn’t a disappointment.

The record starts out unlike any other NEEDTOBREATHE record, with the soft and sweet title track. “Wasteland” shows how the band’s faith still affects them. It’s a great song, with a nice punch at the end. The first three songs on Rivers are some of the best material on this record. “State I’m In” and “Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now” are two of the more upbeat tracks on the album, with the latter being the most aggressive on it. Another great thing about this record is that the band is staying true to themselves, as 90 percent of the recordings are live takes. It really enhances each consecutive listen.

The two singles in the middle of the record come off The Heart EP, which NEEDTOBREATHE released earlier this year. “Difference Maker” and “The Heart” are two completely different songs. The first being a slow and steady (and also sarcastic) song, while the latter is their hit single, and is bound to hit the radio. There really isn’t an off song on this record. It was great that the band really found their best work, and cut their final list down to 11, instead of 14, like on their last three studio albums.

Two of the more addicting songs on this record come near the end, in “Where The Money Is” and “Brother”. The first listen I had to the latter was extraordinary, as it really had me moved. Each consecutive listen gets better with these tracks, and it looks as though NTB worked had to get this record right. “Where The Money Is” can be absorbed in so many other ways than actual money, as its bridge is very well written.

The short and simple lyrics of worship song “Multiplied” make it one of the best tracks this band has put out to date. It’s so great that they can talk about so many different subjects in their music. Lyrics like “Your love is like radiant diamonds, bursting inside us we cannot contain, your love will surely come find us, like blazing wild fires singing your name” are so original, which is what makes this worship song so great and fascinating. A strong end to the record ends with the epic album closer “More Heart, Less Attack”. Brothers Bear and Bo Rinehart said that this song “challenges in the most simplest of ways”. People can take this song so many different ways, which is what makes this record what it is. The use of anaphora at the end gives you chills; “I stuck my hat out I caught the rain drops, I drank the water I felt my veins pop, I’m nearly sanctified I’m nearly broken, I’m down the river I’m near the open“.

The Rinehart brothers and Bolt have done it again, with a refreshing record to say the least. All of their hard work and determination has paid off, as Rivers In The Wasteland is here to stay. If the band had had an extra couple of songs that were just has good as the rest of the record, it would’ve been easy to give this album a rating of 9.5. It is still fantastic work, though. NTB’s newest is one of the best records I have heard so far this year, if not the best.

RATING: 9/10

(NOTE: NEEDTOBREATHE will be on the David Letterman show on Wednesday, April 23 to perform a song from their new album.)