Changing the Game | Posted December 30, 2012 Staff Reviewer
What do you get when you fuse the ultra-modern musical styles of techno, dance and dubstep with the long beloved sounds of hip-hop, rock, funk and pop? Some might say "calamity," but in the case of Gotee Records' latest addition, Capital Kings, calamity is the farthest thing from the outcome.
Comprised of Washington D.C.-turned-Nashville transplants Cole Walowac and Jon White, the duo has been making music together for a number of years, including producing remixes for several big names in CCM. They began to create a buzz all their own however, with the release of their first EP back in late 2012, not to mention coveted spots on both the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 Winter Jam tours.
Gaining a fast following for their memorable live performances and high energy style of music, rivaling that of mainstream counterparts, the group's first self titled project, Capital Kings, is set to take the Christian dance market and turn it on its head. It's already earned the band a nomination for the BPM Award (best dance/electronic group) in the first We Love Christian Music Awards.
"All The Way" is a fantastic opening track led with a compellingly catchy chorus, while the pulsating "We Belong As One," featuring a guest spot by the one and only tobyMac, takes an already upbeat album and kicks it up a notch. Toby's inclusion is a great draw for first time listeners, and sets the tone for the rest of the project quite nicely.
While devoid of any real ballads or subtle moments, tracks like "You'll Never Be Alone" do a good job of pointing more towards the message than the music. Sounding eerily similar to the likes of Owl City at times, the quirky and encouraging lyrics, written from a divine point of view, remind the listener that they are never truly alone in this journey called life: "I'm the streetlights that guide you home, I'll be the GPS when you've lost your phone, I'll be the song that's rockin' in your headphones, I'll show you the signs to let you know you'll never be alone."
"Living For The Other Side," featuring one of CCM's newer acts, Royal Tailor, immediately stands out from the rest of the album on a musical note. Toying with a Maroon 5 gone techno feel, it serves as the strongest cut on the record as a whole.
The album's widely spun first single, "I Feel So Alive" keeps the party rolling, and soon introduces us to the hip-hop/pop tinted "Ready For Home," singing about our longing to be home in Heaven with our Creator and away from the chaos this world throws at us.
"Born To Love" is a perfect follow-up to the previous song, once again touching on the brokenness found on earth, but offering the truth that we're called to win a hurting world through love. It includes an appearance by female vocalist Britt Nicole, and on a lyrical level, is the meatiest song offered.
"Be There" offers heartfelt encouragement and showcases the tastefully crafted dubstep stylings the duo has been earning high marks for. "Tell Me" takes the crazy vibe of the album down several steps and sings out more like a prayer, asking God to reassure us of His presence when all hope seems lost.
Going out with a bang, "The Paradigm" elegiacally rallies the troops and seals this group's infectious musical power in a big way. Getting in on one last guest appearance, is Soul Glow Activatur from Family Force 5, who offers his vocal allure to a trance lover's nirvana.
Capital Kings is a strong debut by a group that is already changing the face of new wave/electro pop in the Christian music world. A genre that, up until recently, was relatively obscure; much thanks goes out to bands like Capital Kings for its formal introduction. There are a couple moments on the album where songs feel slightly monotone, but in general, it oozes with fresh and fun musical creativity and will definitely go down as one of the most innovative releases of 2013.