Album Review :
This Beautiful Republic - Even Heroes Need a Parachute

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Artist: This Beautiful Republic
Album: Even Heroes Need a Parachute
Label: Forefront Records
Release Date: April 3, 2007
Review by: Eric Pettersson

Tracklist:
1. Casting Off
2. Going Under
3. Jesus to the World
4. Right Now
5. Black Box
6. The Surface
7. Let’s Be Honest
8. New Year
9. Something to Deny
10. Fears and Failures
11. Cloud Cover

Christian music would not be what it is today without the work of Forefront Records. Their early and long-lasting bands DC Talk and Audio Adrenaline took 90s rock (among other things) and added a very definite Christian perspective, singing songs about being a “Jesus Freak” or being excited about the “Big House” our Father is preparing for us. At the turn of the millennium, both bands were past their primes, but Forefront continued on with PAX217 and Toby Mac, leading youth groups right into the rap rock sound of the times, before finally falling silent for a few years. Now it’s 2007, and a new brand of alternative holds the teenage market. And Forefront Records has presented a formidable foe to the genre: This Beautiful Republic.

Their debut is, to put it plainly, unexpectedly impressive. From the opener, “Casting Off,” there’s a flow of energy not found in a lot of current rock bands. The intensity of the bridge during “Going Under” is so well done it leaves the listener wondering how This Beautiful Republic is normally so radio-friendly. The thing that really makes This Beautiful Republic different from a lot of other bands, including the majority of Christian bands in this genre right now, is that they’re all about encouraging the church and singing to other Christians to lift them up and speak plainly and openly about strongly spiritual matters in every single song. For someone who has recently been a little sick of stereotypical Christian bands with the church as their target demographic, I must admit that this band is not so stereotypical, and even better, they’re not cheesy. Plus, I’m reminded that some do legitimately have a calling from God to do this, as mentioned by the Apostle Paul (see Ephesians 5:19). The single, “Jesus to the World” talks about how the church should be a light to the world in Christ’s absence, as we wait for our true home. “New Year” is the closest thing to a cheesy song, with the lyrics “You’ve never been so lucky, to have a friend like Jesus,” but as I tried to think about it with a more open mind, I must admit that they’re right, and it’s a truly incredible thought, so a song saying it so plainly isn’t bad once in a while. The catchiest track is “Black Box” which depicts a plane crashing, and the faith of some starting to fade on the way down, encouraging believers to be true and strong in the most testing of times.

This Beautiful Republic are a “Christian band” in a way the term hasn’t been used for over five years, at least not by scenesters. It’s seriously good music, but the obvious spiritual content will probably leave them less marketable to the general industry. As for Christians, the music is exceptional, and with an open mind, the lyrics present many great messages about what it means to follow God and to truly desire Him. Congratulations, Forefront; you may have just made it back onto my list of legitimate record companies.

8/10

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