Over the course of several hit albums, Christian girl group BarlowGirl established themselves as a successful crossover trio by mastering a variety of secular pop and rock styles and matching them to inspirational (but not always explicitly religious) lyrics. Often sounding like a radio-ready mix of Avril Lavigne, Evanescence, and Vanessa Carlton, the group appealed to an unusually wide variety of music fans. Love & War finds the Illinois-based act expanding its sound even further, incorporating influences from heavy rock and dance music. The opening track, "Come Alive," is driven by a straight-up disco beat, a driving bassline, and Killers-esque edgy guitars, while "Time for You to Go" finds the singers' smooth vocal harmonies and biting anti-mass media social commentary backed by a nu-metal-ish funky beat and thrashy drumming. "Hello Sunshine" is a horse of a different (bright) color, its jaunty piano, joyful melody, fuzzy lead guitar, and Bach trumpet blasts clearly influenced by Paul McCartney-authored songs from the Beatles' post-Revolver era. A diverse, engaging exercise in several different subgenres of Christian music, Love & War appeals equally to the CCM heart, rock muscles, and pop sweet tooth.
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AllMusic Review by Pemberton Roach