Reviewed by Tony Cummings
When after their lengthy sabbatical Audio Adrenaline, makers of monster CCM hits like "Ocean Floor", "Big House", "Never Gonna Be As Big As Jesus" and "Some Kind Of Zombie", announced that Kevin Max, famed for his work with dc Talk and his critically acclaimed gems like "Stereotype Be", was joining the group there was huge anticipation in Christian music circles. AA's absence from the scene since 2007 had left a considerable hole and this album, released on 12th March 2013, was fallen upon by fans of both artists like few other releases. As it turned out, the response was mixed. Some fans have declared it to be a new CCM classic while others have denounced it as very poor. As usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. One of the plus factors is that though Mark Stuart is no longer singing with Audio Adrenaline he continues to be their chief songwriter and this engaging album offers 10 tracks of memorable rock anthems as well as a Martin Smith worship cover, "Fire Never Sleeps". With Stuart featured as a guest on "King Of The Comebacks" and keyboard player Jason Walker (primarily a producer before his induction into the band) singing on "Believe", this echoes some of the sounds of the old AA and with a bit of dc Talk thrown in. The title track was the album's first radio single and with its lyrics about justice, honour and caring for the poor is a truly powerful anthem. Other standouts are "He Moves, You Move" and "Change My Name" (a plea to God to change us from our old lives). Changing band members doesn't always work and it still remains to be seen whether this new lineup have the tenacity and the creativity to continue for the long haul. But I would suggest that 'Kings & Queens' is an excellent launch pad.
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