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Alive Showcases Kutless' Most Aggressive Sound Yet

  • Andrew Greer
  • 2008 16 Jun
<i>Alive</i> Showcases Kutless' Most Aggressive Sound Yet

Artist:  Kutless
Title:  To Know That You're Alive
Label:  BEC Recordings

Dynamic rockers mature, push bold message with aggressive new disc …

Over five years have passed since Kutless surfaced as one of Christian music’s premier rock bands. Catapulted by the sudden success of the quintet’s self-titled debut and paramount single “Run,” the longest charting song in the history of R&R’s CHR chart, the Portland-based crew capitalized on its overnight popularity touring extensively and releasing two best-sellers: 2004’s Sea of Faces and 2005’s Strong Tower, a modern worship collection.
Now, 1.5 million units later, Kutless resumes the harder edge of 2006’s Hearts of the Innocent with the band’s fifth full-length CD, To Know That You’re Alive. Showcasing its most aggressive sound yet, unlikely producer candidate Pete Kipley (MercyMe, Phil Wickham) pushes the alternative rockers to new sonic heights while expanding the band’s growing repertoire of anthemic rock.
“The Feeling” and the title track are hot from the top, releasing strain after strain of pure alt-rock energy and hooky choruses. “Dying to Become” is Kutless’ most experimental expression to date segueing beautifully into “You,” the album’s closing chorus of simple praise—a perfect showcase for lead singer Jon Micah Sumrall’s clear-cutting vocal.
Acoustic guitar-based “Complete” and “Guiding Me Home” are surprisingly soft, but especially appropriate following the band’s acoustic tour this spring, and will wisely perpetuate the band’s good graces at Adult Contemporary radio. In fact, it is Kutless’ impressive balance of hard-hitting wall-to-wall sound and keen pop sensibility that generates access for a broader base of music fans and achieves its multi-format radio success.
The major disappointment is Kutless’ lack of originality. The band’s efforts are hardly cutting edge, and the record’s musical themes have been explored before. However, To Know That You’re Alive is growth nonetheless. And for this industry, it is the band’s unashamed lyrical focus and spiritual awareness that endears them to hundreds of thousands of young music lovers, admonishing them with a message that is both relevant and timeless.

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**This review first published on June 16, 2008.