Back with a force and a new member is Group 1 Crew with their EP #FASTER. Since their 2012 release of Fearless, founding member Blanca Callahan and her husband Ben stepped down as they welcomed their new son London into their lives. To fill her shoes, original member Manwell Reyes found vocalist Sarah Sandoz. Despite the major transition, the EP continues the groups momentum and showcases the diverse sound that has garnered them five Dove Awards. Featuring special guests Moriah Peters, Jonathan and Rachael Lampa, this EP is chalked full of energy.
Kicking off the EP in funky fashion is “The Wonder Years,” where we are reminded that “we got what we need when we love each other.” Pop/rock vocalist Moriah Peters lends her talent as she encourages us to “live within this moment,” as the “wonder years are happening.” With a groovy bass and snazzy horns, it’s hard to resist the urge to live in the moment and move to the uplifting beat.
With the next track “A Little Closer,” Group 1 Crew shows that not only do they know how to get down and boogie, they can slow things down and get self-reflective. Opening the song is Reyes as he sings “If you open my heart, you see I don’t have it all together. If you take me apart, you see the worst in me wants to get better.” Talking about the heart behind the song, Reyes says: “For a long time, I felt like my Christianity was based on performance; it was about making sure that I was good enough to be called a Christian. And then I realized that God truly expects us not to be perfect, but to trust in the One who is perfect. I pray that through this song, you will draw a little bit closer to understanding that God loves you where you’re at, and is excited for where you’re going.”
Featuring the vocals of Jonathan Thulin, a hard bass drum, and electro synths you expect the track “Heaven” to be a club anthem, and it doesn’t disappoint. When you find yourself stuck in the humdrum pace of life, embrace the rhythm of joy and “shimmy shimmy like the Holy Ghost up in your body!”
Echoing the theme of “The Wonder Years,” is the track “Everyday is a Miracle.” It is easy to take things in life for granted, such as the seemingly simple task of breathing, but instead think “I feel the air that You give make a home in my lungs, and I know that my miracle has just begun.” Upbeat and featuring the fantastic Rachael Lampa, this song will pump you up and start your day off right.
Finishing the EP strong is the track “Psalm 23.” While this is not them taking the famous psalm and singing or rapping it over an awesome beat, they take the heart of poem and create an awesome reinterpretation. Shining through with her vocals on the chorus, Sandoz sings “I never fear. You’re with me Lord, you never left, ‘cuz all I am is in your hands.” No matter the struggle, God is there encouraging us to never give up.
With brilliant lyrics, contagious beats, and amazing vocals, #FASTER is a great indication of what Group 1 Crew is capable of. Lucky for us, this EP is the first of two, with the second #STRONGER releasing on physical CD exclusively at Family Christian stores September 16th, then on wide release on CD and digital November 4th. As if that isn’t enough, a full-length recording is planned to be released in spring of 2015. As we patiently and excitedly wait, grab a copy of #FASTER and pump some positive energy into your life!