When For King & Country become major recording artists—which, quite candidly, is bound to happen sooner rather than later—remember that you read about them on OurStage first—or at least as one of the first.
Think that the prediction is a stretch? You won’t when you hear the duo’s debut album Crave that is set for February 28 release. When you experience the songs written by two Australian-born brothers whose family moved to Nashville in the ’90s, you’ll understand what all the fuss is about.
Luke and Joel Smallbone’s brand of music—full of throbbing percussion, masterful guitars and liltingharmonies wrapped around emotionally haunting stories—has led some critics to compare them to Coldplay and other major musical talents. But, in a way, even such flattering comparisons are unfair to For King and Country.
First, the music has plenty of pop, alt-country and Christian influences, too, bringing artists such as Amy Grant to mind. And the brothers’ songs are truly gripping, almost like vignettes about their own lives.
Consider “Busted Heart (Hold On to Me),” which was inspired from a conversation on the brokenness that every person feels at some point in their life. That feeling comes at different points and in different ways, but it revolves around needing “something greater than myself” to hold onto, said Joel.
“We called the record Crave because it’s all about hope and what we crave and why,” said Luke. “We are creatures looking to put our trust and hope in something. The underlying thread is that there is hope and we are all looking for something we can grab hold of to live.”
The depth of the duo’s music isn’t surprising when you realize the Australian brothers are from a somewhat storied musical background. Their father was a major rock promoter in Australia. Their sister is celebrated contemporary Christian singer Rebecca St. James. And the duo started their music career as a grassroots band called, simply, Joel and Luke.
With first memories that involve all things music, the brothers formed a natural writing partnership early in their lives. ”Joel and I pretty much always write together,” said Luke. “We really grew up together working on music.”
That’s resulted in a plentiful supply of songs for the group. If the songs on the album are any indication, they are mainly in the style of some past songs the brothers wrote that have already received popular success. “Love’s to Blame” and “People Change” have been featured on the the CW series, The Vampire Diaries and “Light It Up” and “Sane” were on the Lifetime network’s show Drop Dead Diva.
It’s likely fair to say that the brothers went into creating their debut album with plenty of success under their belts, but they still found the process a bit unnerving.
“We wrote about 130-140 songs,” said Luke of the project. “We put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it.”
A lot of that emotion came when choosing the songs that would eventually go onto the album but they relied on each other and their musical team to come to a conclusion.
“I think it is sort of like a family , where you’re only as strong as next guy. In a family, you hold each other up,” said Joel. “One of the most interesting points of the recording process was that during the song selection we [chose]eleven songs were written over a span of three-four years. The beauty is that they all have this very cohesive feel and really work well together as a true record.
Others already agree. “Busted Heart (Hold On To Me)” is the fastest-rising debut single for 2011 on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart. Billboard also recently called the group’s upcoming album one of the most hotly anticipated debuts of 2012.
Remember, you heard it here first.
Find out more about For King and Country, including tour dates, on their website.