Get the new album from Free Chapel!

Get the new album from Free Chapel!

JFH Staff Review


Group 1 Crew, #Stronger EP
CLICK COVER TO ENLARGE

Group 1 Crew
#Stronger EP



Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Pop
Album length: 5 tracks: 18 minutes, 14 seconds
Street Date: November 4, 2014


In the absence of Pablo and Blanca, Manwell Reyes continues to press on, releasing the second Group 1 Crew EP since Blanca's departure. The first EP, #Faster, displayed a band that was struggling to find an identity, bringing in a plethora of talented guest appearances to attempt to offset that. #Stronger fares quite a bit better than its predecessor, but some of the weaknesses are still apparent.

"Keep Goin'" starts things off with a bubbly synthesizer and fluid rapping from Manwell. The CCM styled hip-hop in the verses transitions to a Capital Kings-led EDM chorus. The lyrics in the chorus are a little cliché, but the irresistible dance vibe makes this flaw largely forgivable. On the piano driven "Star Track," Josh Zegan (formerly of post-grunge band Dizmas) leads an R&B flavored chorus. It's a laid back song that occasionally takes it up a notch with an explosive electronic post-chorus. It's hard to tell if the Star Trek references are meant to be funny or serious, but whatever the intention the song, it shows some of the corniest lyrics on the EP: "we boldly going where no one's been, that's star track."

The upbeat "Rise from the Ashes" is stylistically the most CCM'y song on this 18-minute album. Manwell's voice shines here as he reminds us of God's promise to never leave us. "Award" brings in former Press Play vocalist and active solo artist Paige Bryan in the chorus and bridge. The verses of "Award" have a piano over a light hip-hop beat, while the chorus has synths and strings over a dance beat. Though the lyrics are solid, the concept of the song, of God receiving an award, is simply too cheesy.

Group 1 Crew saves the best for last on this EP. "Elevator" brings a more serious tone than the rest of the songs, largely aided by delicate keys and audacious lyrics like "You pray and honestly you feel like that's enough / well ask a hungry man if prayer can fill his belly up / before you crucify my view make sure you understand / I love to pray but also feel like I should lend a hand," which call scriptures like James 1:22 to mind. The song even gets pretty vulnerable as Manwell opens up about internal struggles with selfish motivation. After the two-minute-long first verse, the song turns into a full-fledged rap song with fast-paced spitting and hefty bass.

Where #Faster felt like Group 1 Crew was trying too hard to fill a void with guest vocalists, #Stronger feels like a more natural progression of their sound. Additionally, Manwell seems more comfortable in his new role as he has skillful rapping and singing throughout the album. Though there are a few imperfections here, the energy level is high and truth of God's love and grace comes across well through the music and lyrics, making this an album that you should consider looking into.

- Review date: 12/4/14, written by Christopher Smith of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

. Record Label: Word Records
. Album length: 5 tracks: 18 minutes, 14 seconds
. Street Date: November 4, 2014
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: AmazonMP3

  1. Keep Goin' (feat. Capital Kings) (3:34)
  2. Star Track (feat. Josh Zegan) (3:29)
  3. Rise From the Ashes (3:20)
  4. Award (feat. Paige Bryan) (3:58)
  5. Elevator Doors (3:53)

 

 

 

 

 



Leave a Comment

comments powered by Disqus

 

 

go to main Album review page
go to Album review archive

 

JFH Sponsor Spot:

 

 

           
Listen to the new album from Connor Flanagan!

Search JFH



Music Out This Week

This Friday, October 19
Gawvi Panorama [Reach]
Hollyn Everything and More / Isaac - Single [Gotee]
Iron Bell Music Glory to Glory [Essential]
Matt Maher The Advent of Christmas [Essential]
Planetshakers Heaven on Earth Part III EP [Integrity]
Planetshakers Heaven on Earth CD/DVD [Integrity]
Switchfoot Native Tongue - Single [Lowercase People]
Tenth Avenue North The Things We've Been Afraid To Say EP [Reunion]
CeCe Winans Something's Happening: It's Christmas with CeCe Winans [Thirty Tigers]

NEXT Friday, October 26
Francesca Battistelli Own It [Word]
Lauren Daigle Behold: Deluxe Edition [Centricity]
Ben & Noelle Kilgore A Resting Place EP [Integrity/The Creak Music]
Lovelite Apocalypse Hymnal (independent)
Marc Martel My Way, Vol. II: The Queen EP (independent)
Matthew Parker Daydreamer [DREAM]
Fight The Fury Still Breathing EP [Atlantic]
Chris Tomlin Holy Roar [Sparrow]


For all release dates, click here!
 


New Music Reviews


Listen to the new album from Three Bridges!

New Indie Reviews


New Movie Reviews


Free MP3 Downloads