In 2000, a California based pop/rock act fronted by vocalist and chief songwriter Jason Wade made a splash with their first single "Hanging By A Moment." Lifehouse was an instant success, but their leanings toward the more moody and artistic (a la Sixpence None The Richer), made their success a bit harder to hold on to. With the release of Stanley Climbfall, a decidedly more accessible project, the band couldn't spawn another hit quite like their first. Now two albums later, the band's fourth studio project, Who We Are, picks up where the band's 2005 self-titled release left off with yet another sensitive and emotionally-driven batch of songs.
Lifehouse has been linked with the Christian music market since their pensive, but hope-filled tunes were given their spotlight in 2000. But their Christian audience only increased when the band partnered with Sparrow Records to release their sophomore effort. Since then, although they're no longer linked with Christian distribution, the band has remained a favorite among Christian music listeners. Fans may be curious as to where Lifehouse's latest studio project fits into the mix, and a glance at the lyrics in Who We Are can answer that pretty quickly.
Stylistically, Who We Are isn't much different from their previous chapters. The project's initial single, "First Time," is an upbeat love song, sort of a "'Hanging By A Moment' meets 'Spin'" with more of a distinct romantic angle like "You And Me." The album's opener "Disarray" is a Lifehouse signature melancholy, guitar-driven anthem about pushing through uncertainty with a hopeful, upbeat chorus. Most of the tracks on Who We Are once again deal with brokenness and relationships, with a great deal of ambiguity. While "Learn You Inside Out" is a wonderful love ballad Wade most likely penned for his wife, songs like the strangely bitter but nicely aggressive "The Joke" and "Bridges," a tragic rock anthem that puts the blame on both parties involved in a love lost, are likely to leave the listener interested in discovering from where these songs were spawned. Spiritual themes run amuck as cryptically as they do clearly, with "Make Me Over" serving as a possible cry for God to create something new within the songwriter, and the closer, "Storm," a vivid picture of finding rescue in the arms of Jesus during the storms of life ("If I could just see you / everything would be all right / If I'd see you / This darkness would turn to light / And I will walk on water / And you will catch me if I fall / And I will get lost in your eyes").
While Who We Are is arguably more of the same for Lifehouse, there is plenty of accented new flavors among the tracks to keep things fresh and interesting. From a more gravelly vocal delivery from Wade on "The Joke," the power ballad "Whatever It Takes," the slight throwback feel of "Easier To Be," or the moody less-is-more finale, "Storm," Who We Are portrays enough growth in songwriting and artistry to keep Lifehouse a band well worth following.- Review date: 6/18/07, written by John DiBiase
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