Kutless used to be down to throw some rock in their music. But lately, the Portland, Oregon-based band has been more mellow, and they have continued that softer trend in their eighth studio album, “Surrender.” While it’s not heavy and grungy like some of their earlier albums (Kutless, Sea of Faces or Hearts of the Innocent), they did slip a few songs that exude the classic Kutless sound into their latest work.
The album packs quite a punch right from the start with “Tear it Up,” a rock anthem that even features a brief half-hearted scream. If you need more rock from them, look to “Mirror” and the final track, “My Heart is a Ghost,” which ends with a passionate, two-minute musical outro full of hard-hitting riffs and rhythms.
Other than those three tracks, Surrender is standard CCM fare. The second track, “Bring it On,” sets the contemporary alternative Christian template for most of the album: start with a music intro — strings or a guitar — move on the chorus, throw in a bridge before finishing off with another round or two of the chorus. Nonetheless, “Bring it On” is a solid and inspirational track that looks forward to the second coming of Christ in a tragic world. Stand-out songs also include “I Will Go,” “Loved,” “My Heart is a Ghost” and a cover of praise song, “One Thing Remains.”
Overall, the template causes the album to suffer, paired with simple lyrics that feel lazy at some points. Surrender isn’t a bad album, but it’s not impressive, either. It falls into the same ruts and cliches many CCM albums fall into. It retains a genuine feel, and it will make a nice soundtrack for your drive home from Bible study or work when you just want to chill and be reminded of God’s faithfulness.