It's over two years since 'The Beautiful Letdown' was released and in the interim the band have played to a million people and sold three million copies of the album. No mean feat! It also means that this is one of the most eagerly anticipated new albums of the year. The guys manage to walk the line between artistry and ministry, rock and pop to create an album that is simultaneously immediate and yet manages to reveal depth with each new play. Jon Foreman's lyrics still make your heart ache and prod at the vulnerable areas of human existence and our search for meaning and happiness. He still manages to point people towards the eternal without loading his lyrics full of cliché. In short, this is great work for those already converted by the previous release. If you hated the last album though like most of the mainstream British press, then it's unlikely that this will grab you as the band take a similar approach. "Easier Than Love" is a punchy examination of the cheapening of sex in contemporary culture whilst "The Setting Sun" looks beyond the brokenness of contemporary life to somewhere bigger and better where healing can take place. I love the catchiness of songs like "We Are One Tonight" and "Stars" which are propelled along at a pace and display the way the band manage to balance melody with a rocky edge to fine effect. "Nothing Is Sound" is the spirit of "The Book Of Ecclesiastes" set to a rock'n'roll beat and fed to the MTV generation. Let's hope it shakes up some souls! Topping 'The Beautiful Letdown' was always going to be a challenge and this superb set does the business!
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