Releasing a debut album is no easy feat, but Portland pop/rock band Sixteen Cities is making it seem effortless. This self-titled release adds them to an already competitive field, but with them they bring their own defining sound and writing ability. While their music meets and even surpasses standards by some margins, their commercial success is yet to be proven, but if the tracks found here show anything, that success may not be hard to come by.
The band's obvious attempt to keep their faith on display is exhibited right from the opening track "Just Wanna Dance." One of the things that is most striking about the band's sounds is it's comparability to The Afters. Lead singer Josiah Warneking's voice is not only similar to that of The Afters' Joshua Havens, but the band's sound as a whole is near parallel on certain tracks. And whether this is a good thing or not, it works, and it works well. Lead single "Sing Along" proves to be one of the catchiest released this year, while "Come As You Are" and "Bleeding For You" truly exemplify and demonstrate a passion to glorify Christ. The band also manages to close out the album successfully with "Winter," a crying out to God for redemption ("This cold has been so bitter /Can you save me from this winter").
For a fairly well-loaded LP, it would be nice to see one thing that is missing, that being a truly stripped down and subdued track. While "Winter" may touch on that, it's usually nice to have that one or two track addition to show a band's complete raw and emotional side. Maybe an acoustic venture will be in the band's future, but a sampling of that would have been nice here too.
Despite that minor drawback, however, Sixteen Cities has shown its formidability as a strong player in the Christian market. With a full set list of powerful and relevant tracks, success should be imminent. And if Christian radio picks up on this band as they ought to do, this debut is only just the beginning of what should be a good run.
- PReview date: 4/1/10, Review date: 4/18/10, written by Logan Leasure of Jesusfreakhideout.com