NEEDTOBREATHE’s forthcoming project Rivers In The Wasteland is Southern rock at its most handclappingly jubilant, and brand new track “Where The Money Is” stands out as one of the album’s catchiest. “Ain’t no gift like the present tense,” the song opens, with bubbling cheerfulness and an energy that grabs you from the get-go. With its epic hooks and smooth, buttery vocal harmony, this track will take you home to sunny Carolina in a pickup truck. But NEEDTOBREATHE have never settled for the easy-going party folk endemic to their genre–the pop is always balanced with complicated rhythms and swinging guitar lines that evoke love of a home and strong, introspective storytelling.
The group began as a brother duo between Bear and Bo Rinehart, who started playing together in their gloriously named hometown of Possum Kingdom, South Carolina before teaming up with bassist Seth Bolt in college at Furman University in 2002. NEEDTOBREATHE gained traction first in the Christian Southern rock circuit, and their 2006 label debut Daylight was seen mostly as a devotional album. In the four releases that followed, though, NEEDTOBREATHE began a shift beyond the Christian rock niche into the larger tradition of back porch power folk. To be sure, their blend is hybridized with indie pop, laced with choruses of oohs and whoas. But NEEDTOBREATHE have never dropped their music’s devotional slant, as Rivers In The Wasteland confirms in track after track. The shift isn’t a slackening of religious themes in the lyrics, but rather an incorporation of those themes into the larger experience of love for the south, for storytelling, and for feel-good music.
NEEDTOBREATHE is not a band composed of preachers brandishing guitars; in fact, the anthemic singing slyly disguises a lot of less in-your-face introspection. “Where The Money Is” is one of the album’s loudest, hardest rocking tracks, but still contains a glimmer of how ponderous the album can be. Rather than relegate them to niche status, the band’s complexity deepens their music, making Rivers In The Wasteland an album that will surprise you, bringing a new flavor to every track.
Rivers In The Wasteland dropped on April 15th. To order the album, and to take a listen to what else these smooth-harmonizing gentlemen have in store, go here, and check out “Where The Money Is” right here!