A Love Riot With the Newsboys

Bruce Von Stiers

A little over a year ago I wrote a review on an album of classic hymns that had rock music arrangements. The album was Hallelujah For The Cross. It was by the Christian rock band Newsboys. I've been a fan for the band since seeing a strange but cool music video for their song Smile. A lot of years have gone by and the band has made a few transitions. But their commitment to God and spreading his love through music is still strong.

Newsboys has a brand new album out. Unlike previous albums, the band makes its debut on the Fairtrade Services label. The title of the new album is Love Riot.

The new album has the production talents of Mark Needham, who has previously collaborated with artists such as Shakira. Also helping produce the album was Zach Hall, Seth Mosley and Mike “X” O'Connor. Seth and Mike have worked with King & Country. Zach has produced Five Knives and others.

The lineup of the band is Jeff Frankenstein, Jody Davis, Michael Tait and Duncan Phillips. With the exception of Tait, all of them have been with the band off and on since its early days. Michael was with DC Talk and had his own band Tait for quite a while before joining Newsboys. He does the lead vocals for the band. Jeff plays the keys and provides background vocals. Jody is on guitar and backing vocals And Duncan is the band's drummer.

Besides the main members of the band, other musicians helped out on the songs. Some of those included Matt Chamberlain on drums and David Levita on guitars. Jamie Muhoberac was on keys. Among others who helped out was Zach Hall who played keys and bass.

Love Riot has ten songs and a play time of thirty-seven minutes.

First up is the hard rock sound of Crazy. It is about how Jesus bucked the system and how his radical behavior inspires us.

A bit more subtle, but still rocking, is Hero. It is about the greatest sacrifice that Jesus made for mankind.

In third position on the album is the title track, Love Riot. It is a cool rock anthem about taking your faith

You can definitely get the sense that this is a high energy, rock infused praise album. But not all of the music on the album is hard hitting rock.

Slowing things down quite a bit is the ballad Guilty. It is about professing the love of God and that he is real. The song is the theme song for the upcoming film God Is Not Dead 2. The band will make an appearance in the film. It's fitting that the song is in the film. The first film, God Is Not Dead, was inspired by the band's song of the same name.

Another ballad is You Hold It All (Every Mountain). God having love for us, no matter who we are. And that, if we just look, can see him in everything in our lives.

No Longer Slaves is a mild and beautiful ballad.

Moving things back into the rock mode of things is light ballad called Family of God.

Committed starts out slow but kicks it up after a bit. It's all about committing our lives to God.

Earthquake has some head bopping music, with an almost pop rock sound.

The album closes with the rock flavored song What I Want To Them To Say.

Love Riot is a fantastic album. The music floats between rock and pop rock and the lyrics promote the unconditional love that God has for us.

Promotional materials for this new album call the band “musical Shape-shifters” who've “blown up expectations” about their music and direction. If you have been a fan of the band over the years, you'll know that those are fairly accurate statements. The band definitely has a different sound and texture than when I first encountered their music years ago. As for me, Newsboys is one of the best faith based bands I've ever listened to.

Love Riot is available in stores and most online retail outlets.

You will find the Newsboys official site at http://www.newsboys.com/

They also have a band page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/newsboys.official

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© 2016 Bruce E Von Stiers