Personnel: Bart Millard (vocals); Ben Glover (guitar, piano); David Garcia (guitar, Hammond b-3 organ); Barry Graul, Mike Scheuchzer (guitar); Eamon McLoughlin (fiddle); Darrell Leonard (brass); Robby Shaffer (drums).
Recording information: Darkhorse, Franklin, TN; Fab Music, Franklin, TN; The GloveBox, Nashville, TN; The House Of Blues, Nashville, TN.
Photographer: David Molnar.
Texan Christian rock ensemble MercyMe open their eighth studio album with the sound of a radio dial being tuned -- and of course, once MercyMe comes on, it stops -- and while that's a clich pop and rock move that's been done before, it fits splendidly here. The diverse Welcome to the New jumps around pop genres with ease and fueled by inspiration, kicking off with a classic light pop title track that recalls the band's early work, but then offering electro-fueled rock and worship numbers as grand as those from Hillsong United. Biggest surprise of them all has to be the very White Stripes, very Alabama Shakes, and very garage rocking "New Lease on Life," but the message is still the same as vocalist Bart Millard roars out his songs of redemption, a topic he's still able to pull from with creativity and passion. Right-sized at ten songs with no filler to speak of, Welcome to the New is another entry in the band's long list of triumphs. ~ David Jeffries