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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

The Forward Concept

  • reviewed by Christa Farris Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Sep
The Forward Concept
Sounds like … well-produced pop/rock with a hint of funk that wouldn't seem out of place to fans of Maroon5, Gavin DeGraw, Matchbox Twenty, and early All Star United.At a glance … rhythm serves up competent, energetic pop songs that have real promise musically, but take a simplistic approach lyrically that doesn't suit their sonic complexity.Track ListingMoment in Your LifeSmileSurroundedTake MeNewBeautiful WorldWords from the HeartThe SwitchLet Me SingOn the Verge

Hailing from Dallas/Fort Worth where they slugged it out with 180 annual shows for 10-plus years before signing with a label, Rhythm certainly has an impressive indie resumé. They won "Best Live Performance" for three years at the Spin 180 Awards, and received plenty of props from Fort Worth Weekly Magazine and The Dallas Morning Observer. But ultimately, how do the hometown favorites translate on a major-label scale?

Though The Forward Concept starts out slowly on "Moment in Your Life"—with a light, worshipful piano intro that feels more Matt Redman than something in the pop/rock vein—the momentum picks up quickly with "Smile," giving listeners the first clue that these guys probably do sound good live. "Surrounded" has the piano-driven energy of Gavin DeGraw and plenty of Christian radio potential to boot with its memorable chorus and pretty arrangement, highlighting the production talent of the Pipes Brothers (best known for Deep Blue Something's No. 1 pop hit "Breakfast at Tiffany's"). "Words from the Heart" also demonstrates a keen ear for a great pop hook that's pure, unadulterated fun, a la All Star United's "La La Land" and "Smash Hit."

But The Forward Concept seems to lack, well, forward thinking in the songwriting. Instead of making its own mark on familiar Christian topics, Rhythm treads the predictable middle and adds nothing new to the conversation. And while pop music doesn't always have to be replete with deeper meaning to be enjoyable, this band definitely has rhythm but nothing much else that'll stick with you, which is a shame because the music itself demonstrates a wide-reaching appeal.

© Christa Farris, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.