Needtobreathe

Daylight

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AllMusic Review by

Needtobreathe rose up through the Christian rock world during the early 2000s, but the very presence of producer Andy Green, best-known for his work with British rockers Keane, is a good indication that their major-label debut Daylight is not intended to be a CCM record. And apart from a few stabs at vague spirituality within the lyrics, Daylight doesn't play like a CCM record, either: it's a big, bright, shiny modern rock record, heavily influenced by U2 and designed for big, open spaces, or at least to be played somewhere between Coldplay and Train on modern rock radio. But where Coldplay doesn't hesitate to delve into the sonic murk U2 developed with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois (they may turn into something blandly warm, yet they do draw from it), Needtobreathe is happy to rely on the elements of U2 that capture the band at their most populist, not to mention anthemic, then they take that arena-ready sound and streamline it with their guy-next-door persona and straight-ahead songwriting. Above anything, Daylight is a friendly, welcoming album; in other hands, the echoing, delayed guitars, retro-'80s synths, cavernous drums, and large soundstages might sound ominous or chilly, but Needtobreathe doesn't have anything foreboding about them at all. Such niceness could run the risk of being dreadfully dull, but Needtobreathe has an appealing combination of sincerity and skill that Green polishes into a record that is slick yet ingratiating, earnest yet endearing. True, the brother-led quartet doesn't stretch boundaries -- they're proudly not dangerous -- but they're not only more genuine than Creed, the last prominent Christian-rooted modern rock band, but they're more tuneful and varied, as well, and that's enough to make Daylight a solid debut.

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