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JFH Music Review

Red, Innocence & Instinct

Innocence & Instinct

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 10 tracks: 41 minutes, 9 seconds
Street Date: February 10, 2009

Red is among the few bands out there (even more so in the Christian music) that generate a sound that mixes orchestrated sounds and hard rock. The first time I heard their debut album, I knew this band was going places. Months later, "Breathe Into Me" was being played consistently on mainstream radio. Close to three years later, Red brings us their next chapter, Innocence & Instinct.

Original fans will feel right at home with first track, "Fight Inside," as it flows a lot like "Already Over" from End of Silence. The song basically covers our struggle with making decisions. "Death of Me" is one of the least memorable tracks found on the album. It's not a bad song by any means; it just doesn't have any hooks or lyrics that seem to stick. The album seems to really start moving once the third track, "Mystery of You," emerges with a really strong intro. "Start Again" gives the listener hope and lets them know that God is there to give us another chance, "what if I let you in/ what if I make it right/ what if I give it up/ what I want to try/ what if you take a chance/ what if I learn to love/ what if we start again."

"Never Be the Same" has radio airplay success written all over it as it is the softest track found on the album while also being very easy to get into the chorus. "Confession" sounds like a tune that could accommodate a Playstation 3 commercial with its aggressive sound and in-your-face vocals from Mike Barnes. Lyrically, the song focuses on how someone wants to change their life for the better: "I'm on the edge/ I don't know how/ I can't escape this nightmare/ I confess- I'm always afraid/ I'm always ashamed of what's inside me/ I confess- I'm always afraid/ I'm always ashamed of what's inside my head/ take this away." "Shadows" is one of the highlight tracks on the album and may remind the listener of Linkin Park's "Breaking a Habit" before evolving into its chorus. And while some people don't like cover songs. I, on the other hand, welcome new renditions if done right, and Red's cover of "Ordinary World" by Duran Duran is a great example. Red saves two of the best tracks for the end of the album. "Out From Under" displays intense music accompanied by Barnes' vocals filled with intense emotion. This is easily the best song on the album. The closer, "Take It All Away," is a complete departure from the rest of the album as it is a very haunting track that surprises the listener towards the end as Mike Barnes shouts the line: "You take away." This is a perfect example of how a song can be simplistic, yet great at the same time.

A sophomore album is always the ultimate test for any band who presents three possible scenarios: can any improvements be accomplished in the second album, will it be as satisfactory as the first album, or will it give the band a chance to redeem themselves. Red has evolved and succeeded in bringing listeners an album that should impress fans and newcomers alike.

- PReview date: 11/22/08, Review date: 2/7/09, written by Wayne Myatt class="coversize" align=right> Early Thoughts...
Red achieved an almost overnight success from their debut album, End of Silence, with considerable media attention on television and radio. The band's sound has been often compared to such groups as Linkin Park and Skillet. Many listeners, Christian and mainstream alike, were craving Red's music with hits such as "Breathe Into Me" and "Already Over" due in part to Linkin Park's absence and departure from their former style. Red returns with their sophomore project, Innocent & Instinct in February, 2009. Red continues to utilize orchestral music while Mike Barnes captivates the listener with his emotional vocals throughout each song, as well as provides an occasional scream when needed in songs like "Out From Under." "Fight Inside" and "Death of Me" are good, solid tracks, however, they are not the best found on this album. "Fight Inside" is a song that refers to the temptation that is always lurking and waiting on us to give in. "Mystery of You" and "Shadows" will become instant favorites and likely become very big hits due to their memorable choruses. Red provides a nice cover of Duran Duran's "Ordinary People," too, a song that reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1993. It's likely that this project will not receive any gold stars for best songwriting; still, it is a very enjoyable listen and a release that implores one to play it loudly. Innocence & Instinct is a worthy successor to End of Silence and will not disappoint fans of Red or hard rock.

- PReview date: 11/22/08, written by Wayne Myatt --->

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

Red's highly anticipated sophomore release Innocence & Instinct has finally arrived. The album opens with "Fight Inside" and "Death Of Me," which are solid rock tunes that speak on the waging war within our bodies and souls. These two songs (along with a few others) display the new found vocal and musical edge that Red has acquired since their last release. Not screamo in the slightest, but they take a small step toward the harder side of rock music. As always, Red shows off a few ballad/worship style tracks with "Mystery Of You," "Start Again," and "Never Be The Same," which are a nice touch and remind fans what the band's focus is throughout the album. Red does a cover of Duran Duran's "Ordinary World" nicely, while "Out From Under" blends harder vocals with an orchestral background vintage Red. Closing the album is "Take It All Away," which is perhaps the best music that I have ever heard from the band. It is reminiscent of "Pieces" from their first release, and the blend of soft strings, ballad drumming, and piano keys laid over lyrics asking God to take away the pain in our lives makes for a most beautiful track. My only complaint would be the length of the album, which consists of only ten tracks, which is a little short. That being said, they are ten very solid tracks. I like the slightly harder edge and the focus on needing Christ in our lives. Innocence & Instinct will be in my player for a long time. - Kevin Hoskins


. Record Label: Essential Records
. Album length: 10 tracks: 41 minutes, 9 seconds
. Street Date: February 10, 2009
. Buy It:

  1. Fight Inside (4:08)
  2. Death Of Me (4:17)
  3. Mystery Of You (3:48)
  4. Start Again (4:27)
  5. Never Be The Same (3:49)
  6. Confession (What's Inside My Head) (2:44)
  7. Shadows (3:21)
  8. Ordinary World (4:57)
  9. Out From Under (4:00)
  10. Take It All Away (5:43)
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