Sidewalk Prophets are the latest addition to Word/Fervent Records, releasing their full-length debut album called These Simple Truths. But though they may be new to the label, they certainly have had plenty of time (and experience) garnering a good-sized fanbase. They've toured all over the United States and other countries for the past five years, and have shared the stage with the likes of Jeremy Camp, Stellar Kart and even Audio Adrenaline. Pretty impressive stagemates for a relatively unknown group of musicians. So they must be writing some pretty good tunes, right?
Throughout most of These Simple Truths, the music sticks to the script of the AC radio sound. And like fellow new artists pop/rockers, Mikeschair, Sidewalk Prophets show from the get-go that they can make decent upbeat pop songs as well as ballads. The first song of the album, "Just Might Change Your Life," is your typical starting song, sounding like a more watered-down version of Mae. "Show Me How To Love" follows, where they introduce a pop/country sound as well, much like popular act Montgomery Gentry. The first ballad shows up in "You Can Have Me," still holding on to the pop/country sound, but not enough to label Sidewalk Prophets as a country band. The song is about the singer giving all of himself to God and His love ("When did love become unmoving? When did love become unconsuming? Forgetting what the world has told me, Father of love, You can have me"). A song of encouragement to a distant friend comes in the Jeremy Camp-ish "The Words I Would Say," another ballad, where the lyrics bring about the meaning of the album's title. Afterwards, the Celtic-sounding "Moving All The While" sounds like you could find it in a hymnal.
In "For What It's Worth," they sing humbly about following Jesus completely and giving up everything. Another country-style ballad is next, "You Love Me Anyway," followed by "All Things New," which focuses on God's restoration. Things pick up with the album's shortest track, "You Will Never Leave Me," which says "You may lead me to the desert, where I'm empty and afraid, wandering this nothingness, thirsting for the rain, I will not give in to fear, cause Lord I know You're here, You will never leave me," atop music slightly resembling pop/rock acts like The Afters. "Give It All Away" follows, and leads into "Lay Down My Life," which sings from the perspective of both man and God, both of whom talk about laying down their lives for each other, a beautiful reminder of what He did for us when He took the cross. And it's really comforting to hear the lyrics in the bridge where he speaks from God's perspective telling His child to give him all his doubts and fears, knowing that He really will.
It's safe to say that Sidewalks Prophets have an album on their hands that will be fairly popular on AC radio. Just about every song has "hit song" potential. These Simple Truths is happy, encouraging and, overall, not too shabby. At times, the lyrics lack in songwriting quality, but definitely not in substance. A good recommendation for fans of any of the aforementioned bands, or Christian hit radio in general.- Review date: 8/22/09, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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