Label: EE-Taow Records
Predictable youth-group friendly praise …
If the record label EE-Taow looks a little unfamiliar at this point, that's because it's the brand-new arm of Teen Mania Ministries geared toward giving artists a praise platform. Though its intentions are certainly noble and there's no doubt that its first signees, Unhindered, are sincere, the group's national debut disc Be falls a bit short of the buildup.
Sure, the group can play with precision, and the project has plenty of uplifting tracks split between congregational participation and personal prayer time. However, one can't help but feel like the project is pretty predictable all across the board, from pleasant but uninspiring songwriting to upbeat but unremarkable production. "We Will" has youth-group appeal written all over it and may be able to connect with that generally receptive audience, but doesn't exactly break any new sonic boundaries. "Desperate" is amongst the more musically involved tunes, playing out as a piano-bathed aggressive rocker, but lyrically it reads bland and basic.
"Light This World" is probably the cheesiest tune on the record, literally sounding like a Christian cheer stacked with every cliché in the book. The group is much better off scaling back toward an acoustic setting for the emotive and unflinchingly honest "Farewell Lullaby," about renewing one's life for the glory of God. If only Unhindered could lean in this more introspective and mature direction rather than trying to just round the youth-friendly bases, Be would be a more promising introduction.
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**This review first published on February 16, 2010.