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JFH Music Review

Sent By Ravens, Mean What You Say

Sent By Ravens
Mean What You Say

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 10 tracks: 32 minutes, 26 seconds
Street Date: February 28, 2012

Tooth & Nail Records new artists are always a gamble, but when they pay off, their next ventures are all the more interesting, both from the critical and audience perspective. After the great start found in Our Graceful Words, Sent By Ravens is following up their debut with Mean What You Say, their tribute to honest, well-placed affirmation. With the present theme of words at the forefront, it proves to be yet another successful project from the quintet.

Mean What You Say is a fabulous foray in the rock circle, as it does improve upon the precedent set by Our Graceful Words, heavy hitting from start to finish. In general, the compositions feel much more purposeful this time around, undoubtedly fresh products and not freeze-dried old songs from the band's unsigned past. With the trifecta of the short but sweet "Prudence," "Listen," and "Rebuild, Release," the listener's blood starts pumping without fail with the more somber "Learn From the Night" and "Never Be Enough" filling in the gaps. "However Long It Takes" and "We're All Liars" showcase the best of what guitar-crunching SBR can do, and the electronic-laced title track accentuates them nicely. Zach Riner's vocals feel especially practiced, and like the band's debut, his screams, though much fewer in quantity for this release, always come at just the right time without overstaying their welcome. While his voice won't stop the comparisons drawn with Pillar's Rob Beckley, their classic nature has made a great home with the aggressive nature of SBR's rock inclinations.

If nothing else, Mean What You Say feels very short at only thirty-two minutes, and there are a couple moments where the songs end just a little too soon ("Prudence," "Never Be Enough"). Also, sometimes the songs flow very well together, and other times they don't, which leads to a somewhat disjointed final product. This isn't to say that any of the songs aren't executed well; they just sometimes don't appear well all together. While minor complaints, they do lead to a little less polish than one would hope for a band's second effort, especially when only nine of the songs here are new. As a rerecording from SBR's The Effects of Fashion and Prayer EP, the album's closer "Best In Me" has been a fan favorite for the majority of the band's career, and though some older fans may be disappointed to see the band release an old song as the album's finale, it's a more than fitting closer. When Zach Riner is joined by his wife for the second to last chorus, chills are sent up the spine ("So just settle down/this storm won't last forever/we're built for more than this world/I'm not that strong/honestly I'm not/but you always see the best in me").

As an entire experience, however brief it often feels, Mean What You Say is a joy to hear. Just as a sophomore release should do, it mostly makes the right decisions in creating a broader picture of Sent By Ravens' talent and overall appeal. Rarely missing the mark, Mean What You Say is an early favorite for Tooth & Nail aficionados and more proof that Sent By Ravens will continue to soar high in the ranks as long as they keep improving.

- Review date: 2/26/12, written by Roger Gelwicks of

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

Sent By Ravens' newest release, Mean What You Say, doesn't really disappoint, but it fails to meet all expectations. In their sophomore release, the band seems to drop the metalcore facade that played throughout most of their debut. Most of Mean What You Say is slightly reminiscent, at least musically, of early Emery--especially something like "Studying Politics" from The Question. Perhaps classifying the sound as post-hardcore with a strong alt-rock background would best describe the music. With that being said, the screams are also gone. While Zach Riner gets loud and forceful with voice, he never really goes full-bore. "Listen," "Rebuild, Release," and "Need it Today" are all solid tracks that follow the same musical formula and will have you loving the album in no time. The title track adds in an electronic element that sounds a little odd at the start, but the song begins to grow on you after a few listens. The standout track has to be the slow piano dominated "Never Be Enough." The lyrics focus on the fact that we as humans will never be good enough on our own and we tell ourselves that He could never use us because of it. Thankfully, through grace and a loving Savior, " doesn't have to be good enough." As good as the first eight tracks are, the final two are equally as bad as each song breaks the musical formula in different ways. "We're All Liars" sounds like a b-side from Red (and features the only screams in the album), while "Best in Me" sounds like a bonus track from Seventh Day Slumber's The Anthem of Angels. They aren't terrible songs, but they do not really fit on the album. Overall, Sent By Ravens have released another solid rock record, but it's just not quite as good as it could have been. - 2/16/12, Michael Weaver of


. Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
. Album length: 10 tracks: 32 minutes, 26 seconds
. Street Date: February 28, 2012
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: AmazonMP3
. Buy It:

  1. Prudence (2:24)
  2. Listen (3:06)
  3. Rebuild, Release (2:52)
  4. Learn From The Night (3:52)
  5. Mean What You Say (3:08)
  6. However Long It Takes (3:06)
  7. Need It Today (3:58)
  8. Never Be Enough (3:02)
  9. We're All Liars (3:04)
  10. Best In Me (4:20)
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