Breathe In (Fair Trade/Columbia)
by Phillips, Craig & Dean

To hear the thundering drums and echo-laden guitar that kick off “Great and Glorious”, the opening track on Breathe In, you might think you’ve found a classic rock gem rather than the 13th album by this seminal Christian music trio. Yet the vertical-leaning message harkens to their earliest days, and “Breathe In” strides with artful aplomb between first-person testimony (in the verses) and praiseworship exuberance (in the choruses). It’s clean, well-crafted pop, but those seeking lyrical wizardry should temper their expectations, as Breathe In favors the literal over the literary. When it works, as on the countrified pop ditty “I Choose to Believe,” the message of God’s grace comes wrapped in nice storytelling flourishes. And on “Speechless,” the straightforward, exuberant expression of praise lives up to the title, and forms a musical and thematic foil to “Great and Glorious.”
— Lou Carlozo

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