Review Date: 8/03/14
Review By: Angel Journey
Release Date: 8/05/14
Rating: [usr 9.5]
Crunk rock band Family Force 5 is back stronger than ever with their newest release Time Stands Still, the band’s first full length release since 2011’s III. The Georgia natives formed in 2005 and have been churning out extremely contagious dance anthems ever since. This will be the first record without founding member Solomon “Soul Glow Activatur” Olds at the helm on vocals, with his younger brother Jacob “Crouton” Olds stepping up to the plate. Taking over the drums from Crouton is Teddy “Hollywood” Boldt, former member of Wavorly. Additional members include guitarist Derek “Chap Stique” Mount, bassist Joshua “Fatty” Olds, and synth-master Nathan “Nadaddy” Currin. Throughout this album we will hear a newer direction for FF5, and while the record definitely contains the party-pumping sound that has made them famous and addictive, we will hear the band insert in lighter, almost worshipful tones into a handful of tracks.
Dropkicking us into the album are the first couple of tracks “Sweep the Leg” and “BZRK.” They both contain all the essentials for an epic FF5 track: electrifying guitar riffs, rousing synths, dynamic rhythms, and of course an addictive catchphrase. These tracks need to be added to everyone’s pre-game mixes as they are supercharged forces of tenacity. Grabbing a lyrical snippet from “BZRK,” you hear the band pumping out the raw energy: “Pop, pop, pop like a firecracker. Crack that back like a chiropractor. I go BZRK on a daily basis.” With this track they invite another rapper to follow in the footsteps of Lecrae (“Cray Button”) and Tedashi (“Chainsaw”), as KB drops a fierce verse t0 enhance the intensity.
With the song “Show Love,” we hear the band begin to show a softer side as they exchange the party-pumping vibes for a more light-rock tone. They also demonstrate their lyrical diversity as the track contains intricate verses and a reverent chorus. “My feelings are a work of art, a picture frame around my heart.”
The title-track “Time Stands Still” returns the music to the high-energy zone with a solid four-on-the-floor beat and funky synths, but it is a great introspective piece as it reflects upon our need to slow down in life and enjoy the presence of those around us. We also start to hear a recurring theme on the importance of love, as the chorus chants “The world keeps on spinning, it’s just the beginning. Everybody needs to love and be loved.”
“Walk on Water” shoots to combine dance tones with a reverent ambiance, and featuring Melodie Wagner of Hillsong Young & Free, the track pulls off the mission extremely well. “I wanna walk on water, take a leap, and step out knowing You won’t let me sink.” With a heavy kick-drum, stimulating melodies, and beautiful vocals the song portrays the wonderful power of faith.
Next we enter the sci-fi fantasy chapter of the record with the tracks “Glow In The Dark,” “Raised By Wolves,” and “Jet Pack Kicks.” Packing a punch, “Glow” features impressive music work as Chap Stique and Fatty lacerate their guitars, Nadaddy ruptures his synths, and Hollywood devours his drum set. “Wolves” keeps the voltage levels high and is another fervor-inducing piece, encouraging us to respond to “the call of the wild.” “Jet Pack Kicks” goes authentic rap-rock and is a highly rambunctious track. With references to prestigious aerobatics Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Marty McFly, and bona-fide skydiver Felix Baumgartner, this song should come with the cautionary label “WARNING: Do not attempt as these are trained professionals.”
“XRAY” returns the record to a slower vibe and with lyrics such as “Deeper than flesh and bone, you show me my soul,” we are provided with another dose of self-reflection. Hitting a grand slam on the theme of love, “Let It Be Love” is an infectious anthem that powerfully expresses the Gospel. “Heard about a King who stepped down, took my place. True Love gave His life away. It’s love that lights the way.” This track would have been a completely reasonable way to end the album, but we still have a few tracks to go. When records go this length, the last few tracks can sometimes feel lacking in quality and direction, but this album is a definite exception.
With the titles “Everybody Lose Your Mind” and “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching,” you would be correct in assuming these are more dance-tastic jams. Reappearing are the vital ingredients that create a contagious crunk rock track: head-banging guitar shreds, frenzied synths, and incapacitating rhythms. While Soul Glow Activatur stepped down from vocals, much of this record still features his composing skills and these two songs make that very evident.
“When Everything’s Changing,” revisits the theme of of how fast-paced our lives become, and reflects upon how important it is to be rooted in the consistent source of God’s hope. “No matter what I’ll always know, You’re the road that lead me home, You’re the love that won’t let go.” The next number, “Never Say Never” further elaborates on God’s eternal willingness to shower us with His astounding grace and love. “The impossible is possible, ‘cause Your love is unstoppable.”
Rounding out the album in inspirational fashion is “This Is My Year.” Whether you’re just waking up to start your day or minutes away from that important job interview, this song will inject you full of confidence. “Imma looking’ for the next big thing, I’m living my dream kickstarted. Ain’t never gonna miss a beat, ain’t gonna be broken hearted.”
Time Stands Still is a huge success for FF5 as it accomplishes multiple challenges this record had to overcome: their last full length album III was met with lackluster reviews, Soul Glow Activatur stepped down, and the band chose to explore more sensitive sounds and spiritually heavy lyrics. This collection of songs proves that Crouton can lead vocally and the band still has what it takes to produce infectious party rock anthems while simultaneously conquering more subtle tones. Whether you are looking to vitalize the dance floor or enter into a time of prayer and self-reflection, grab a copy of Time Stands Still and enjoy the bombastic ride!