Sixteen Cities Review

I tend to focus exclusively on new artists when it comes to doing CD reviews on All4God, and Sixteen Cities are no exception. They are a new young (the members range from 21-23 in age) band from Portland, USA. They are a very contemporary, easy listening guitar led pop-rock boy band, who have drawn influences from bands such as The Fray and Switchfoot. They have just this week released their debut album (also called Sixteen Cities – whatever happened to creative album names?) and over the past couple of weeks I’ve been enjoying a preview of it. {NB any record label people reading this – if you have new upcoming Christian bands you want reviewed let me know about them…}
The band says they want their songs to “speak to people’s hearts and convey a message of hope” and as such while this isn’t a worship album, it has more depth than a simple contemporary album. This is a record that makes no attempts to hide the faith of the band, and yet manages to avoid the clichés of Christian music that usually cause non-Christians to turn off.
There are great songs about God’s love and how we need to depend on it, and in my personal favourite song Someone’s work of art we are reminded of how we have been made by God and that he values us greatly just the way we are.
This is a very positive album, with some great uplifting messages that are rooted in Biblical truth, messages of hope that you often don’t get in more mainstream music, messages that no doubt will be used by God to provide some much needed comfort to many listeners.
The only gripe I have was this album is that it doesn’t have a very distinct sound to it. When you listen to a song by the likes of Casting Crowns or Coldplay you can instantly tell who the artist is due to the distinct vocal and musical sound they have. However Sixteen Cities are very samey to many of the other guitar-led rock/pop boy bands out there at the moment in the Christian scene such as Stellar Kart or Relient K. If you are a fan of that style of bands then chances are you will like this, however musically you’ll have heard it all before. Also if you like songs that challenge you the pickings are thin on this album, with only the closing track Winter standing out as a lyrically challenging song about when our passion for God grows cold.
Other than that I found this a very enjoyable album that I have listened to many times over the past few weeks. And is this week released in shops in the USA, and is now on Spotify in the UK as well as available for download from Amazon/iTunes etc so you can have a listen too. If you are looking something uplifting and easy listening I would recommend it.
Score: 8.2/10
For more details and to hear some of their music check out their website.

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