15 July 2016 (released)
11 July 2016
Still building a strong following in the UK, South Carolina's NeedToBreathe are the archetypal US rock band that produce music that UK bands never seem able to replicate. From the Springsteen inspired Counting Crows in the 1990s and through the likes of Matchbox 20, Vertical Horizon and The Goo Goo Dolls, there is always a niche these bands can obtain on this side of the pond.
NeedToBreathe could be next in line, having already made the Radio 2 playlist with the terrificBrother (featuring the vocals of the excellent Gavin DeGraw) in 2014. For this follow up to the Grammy nominated Rivers In the Wasteland, NeedToBreathe have added a significant splash of soul, adding more colour to their alt-rock spectrum. In doing so, brothers Bear Rinehart (vocals, guitar) and Bo Rinehart, alongside bassist/vocalist Seth Bolt, and keyboardist/vocalist Josh Lovelace have given their sixth studio album a far more accessible sound. There is more than just a slight influence here from working with the more poppy DeGraw.
There is a lush soulful feel to both Money & Fame and Happiness, which will sound just as impressive live as they will on the radio, while the bluesy Don't Bring That Trouble shows a band comfortable to push the boundaries a little. The big hit they need to increase awareness beyond their core following could be the anthemic Great Night, which surprisingly features the US folk due Shovels & Rope. It's very much in the Ryan Tedder bracket of US pop-rock and has a wonderful hook.
Be Here Long and Let's Stay Home are phone-waving (it used to be lighters) ballads, with Testify offering a reflection of restored faith, before the sweeping epic Clear closes the album. There is an element to NeedToBreathe's new sound that is a throwback to simpler times, when a big rock-pop chorus was cherished and not admonished. Refreshing and reassuring in equal measure Hard Love is not hard to love at all. Embrace it.