Reviewed by Simon Eden
It is said that wearing glasses makes the wearer look intelligent. I am not quite sure what it is, but this sounds musically intelligent, like a lot of thought has gone into it. For King & Country comprises a songwriting team of Australian brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone (who previously released 'A Tale Of Two Towns' as Joel & Luke). They wrote all but one track on the album, and one of the songs was co-written by the guys' sister Rebecca St James, for whom they provided support on her European tour. The name of the band and the album title gives some insight into the brothers. "For king and country" is a military war cry but as Luke states in his sleevenotes, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of our Lord God". The final track on the album is "Crave" with a chorus that goes, "Hope is what we crave", whilst it finds it gentle male sensitivity (and some impressive high notes). The string quartet intro to "The Proof Of Your Love" takes us straight into Scripture from 1 Corinthians 13 and builds to strong powerful vocals and searing guitar. As a rock album, this is quite a man's man album - powerful stadium rock with a sound like a roaring inferno.
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Carrying a name that evokes substance and a sense of purpose, for KING & COUNTRY make their debut with music that more than lives up to their clever moniker. Enveloping their insightful lyrics in a sea of ear-grabbing melodies, brothers Joel and Luke have forged a distinctive sound that has earned them an enthusiastic fan base as well as the respect of industry professionals who keep tapping their music for use in high profile TV shows. Together, Joel and Luke ignite each other's individual passions to form a unique, distinctive voice that blends into simmering sibling harmony, unrivalled by any other collaborative group to date.
The group's strengths are showcased not only through their voices, but their name as well. The name, 'for KING & COUNTRY,' was decided on after several attempts to find a name that appropriately encompasses who they are as musicians as well as their passionate personalities. With tracks produced by Shaun Shankel, Aqualung and Ben Glover, for KING & COUNTRY's debut album, Crave, is a vibrant collection of songs, marked by emotional honesty and a riveting transparency.
"We want to deliver a message that is about believing in something much bigger than oneself," explains Luke. "The title track of the album has a line in the chorus that very plainly says, 'hope is what we crave'. You can confidently go through the ups and downs in your life because you know that life isn't all about you and what you do but rather the hope and salvation of Christ."
"We want to be known for writing music that is authentic, real and from the heart," adds Joel. "Music has been a very therapeutic thing for us. There's a lot of blood, sweat and tears that went into this record and what spurred us on is this whole idea that we can make a difference. That music, our music, can have the power to impact someone's life for the better."