Aritst:   Casting Crowns
Label:  Beach Street Records

When you’re Mark A. Miller of the famed Sawyer Brown or veteran Steven Curtis Chapman, you don’t just offer production services to any old band that dishes off a demo. But thanks to the husky vocals, driving guitars, luminous keyboards and violin bursts of Atlanta’s eclectic seven-piece Casting Crowns, the pair enthusiastically signed on for its national debut.

With the opening track, “What If His People Prayed,” and lead single, “If We Are the Body,” front man Mark Hall commands attention. Supplemented by energetic instrumental spurts and tight melodies, the latter encourages believers to intercede for one another and admonishes the church to effectively reach beyond its walls.

Other standouts include “Who Am I,” a praise-centered ballad laced with orchestration, plus the female-fronted “Praise You with the Dance,” which fits into Chapman’s craftsmanship foundation. Aside from the project’s tendency to occasionally reflect its primary muse a bit too liberally, Casting Crowns turns in a promising freshman effort.


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