A noticeable debut from the Tennessee modern rock quartet, Learning to Lose features songs built around the strength of the Turning's rhythm section. The nucleus of the band -- guitarist/songwriter Matt Warren, bassist Jeremy Little, and drummer Jeff Goff -- formed while playing worship music at local churches in Chattanooga. After recruiting Jacob McGinnis as vocalist, the band turned to rock music, spent several years on the road, and eventually relocated to Nashville. Their resulting effort thus sounds more polished than many freshman records. McGinnis writes about lessons learned the hard way when doors aren't opened as planned. A concoction equal parts Foo Fighters, Delirious?, and Sanctus Real, the band's furious wall of sound remains controlled and melodic. The same could be said of McGinnis' vocals; although he sings with passion, he never screams or gets in your face. This is one way the band distinguished itself at a time when modern rock was increasingly becoming synonymous with forcing lyrics down listeners' throats. The Turning are at their least creative when performing modern worship songs ("Through All the Earth," "Home to You"), but at the same time these departures keep them approachable. Otherwise, the driving pulse of "Numb" or the crunchiness of album opener "Never Again" might inch a little too close to emo/indie for mainstream listeners. Overall, Learning to Lose lights a path toward great success for this tight and transparent Christian group.
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AllMusic Review by Jared Johnson