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Sounds like … AC-friendly vocal pop/rock in the vein of Avalon, 4Him, NewSong, and Phillips Craig & DeanAt a glance … the occasional standout vocals aren't enough to elevate this otherwise routine pop/rock offering by The KatinasTrack Listing Because Alive Praying for You Free Praise Take Me My Friend Fade Everlasting God Still
One of Christian music's original boy bands, The Katinas could give their teenaged contemporaries a run for their money. Vocally, they dazzled with their seamless blend and next-door charm. The fact they could write songs and play instruments only elevated their status—they weren't just part of a fad. Last we heard from the Samoan brothers, they were putting their own spin on CCM classics with their Timeless album. It's been three long years since, and somehow that album marked a transition for the group, distancing them further away from the slick urban pop of their first couple albums.
Pop/rock seems to be the Katinas' new niche, a style confirmed through their newest album, Still. The move makes sense if you consider the boy-band pop trend finished—now The Katinas appear to be aiming for the same demographic favored by the Avalons, the NewSongs, and the 4Hims of Christian adult contemporary. While going the way of vocal pop/rock is well and good, the style isn't exactly hot and creative, either.
That explains why songs like "Because" and "Alive," though driving and anthemic, fail to take off. As produced by veteran Brian Lennox, they're derivative of I'll Lead You Home-era Michael W. Smith (which Lennox also produced), with blaring drums, dense guitars, reverb-rich pads, and pristine, layered vocals.
The Katinas fare better when things slow down. Still doesn't offer anything as strong as their hit "Thank You" or their iconic take on "Draw Me Close," but songs like "Free" and "Fade" prove they know a thing or two about worshipful balladry and restraint. It's here that the brothers sound most comfortable—after all, they're a vocal ensemble first, a band second.
Outside of those highlights, Still is merely passable. Despite its energy, very little succeeds at generating the same interest level of the Katinas' earlier recordings. The more the siblings stick to a methodology that plays up their strengths rather than eclipse them, the more they stand a chance of a resurgence.