Centred around brothers Bo and Bear Rineheart, American rockers NEEDTOBREATHE have been building their reputation on the American circuit since 2000. Having grown in popularity and critical acclaim with each release, the troupe have set their hearts on conquering Europe with their fourth studio album, “The Reckoning”. A fusion of Kings Of Leon, John Mellencamp, John Mayer, Ray LaMontagne and most bizarrely Coldplay, NEEDTOBREATRE present country tinged stadium rock, without pretension and with clear relish and enjoyment.

“The Reckoning” is far from the most original record to date, but then it doesn’t appear as if it is intended as such. Full to the brim with radio friendly fodder, NEEDTOBREATHE have crafted an album that will take them further into the realms of commercial success. “Drive All Night” has Train written all over it, while the hum-along “Wanted Man” and lighter-in-the-air “The Reckoning” are clear singles. There is no doubt, NEEDTOBREATHE are assured of another notch on their bedpost.

However, it is when NEEDTOBREATHE step off the well-beaten track that they really stand out. The soul-drenched vocal of the gospel-driven “Able” and haunting “A Place Only You Can Go” demonstrates a depth to NEEDTOBREATHE that leaves the listener wanting so much more from “The Reckoning”. While without “Able”, “The Reckoning” would make for amazing driving music, it slots so neatly among so many already established artists, that NEEDTOBREATHE could easily be overlooked. But “Able” takes NEEDTOBREATHE into a league of their own. Heartfelt, mournful, uplifting, spine tingling, Bear Rineheart proves himself to be one of the music industry’s defining vocal artists.

NEEDTOBREATHE are guaranteed mainstream success if they continue to release records of this ilk, however, they could be so easily be so much more than just another Train or Kings Of Leon. Bear and Bo Rineheart make a distinctive writing duo, and Bear’s vocal trumps his contemporaries. If the Rinehart’s had turned off the radio and simply poured more soul-soaked emotion into “The Reckoning”, it  would have easily been the finest album of 2012. As it stands, it is enjoyable with stand out moments.

Rating: 3.55/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams



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