Music Review: Nevertheless, "Live Like We're Alive"
Release Date: September 19, 2006
Label: Flicker Records
· Official Site
by Paul Schultz
Published: September 21, 2006
At first listen, Nevertheless sounds like a hundred other indie emo pop/rock bands. Dig deeper, however, and you'll experience a group of five guys from Chattanooga, Tennessee that turns the often disparaging contemporary tunes of the day on their ear with a consistent hopefulness. So, yeah, they sound like Jimmy Eat World or, more obscurely, Acceptance,
with a smattering of Relient K. Get over it. Enjoy their debut, Live Like
We're Alive, for its skilled and enthusiastic musicianship, and stay for its
message of reassurance.
Nevertheless gets their name from the Gospel of Luke, during the miraculous catch of fish and the calling of
the first disciples, specifically when Jesus asks Simon Peter to cast out
into the deep with their fishing nets. The fisherman replies, "Master, we have
toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net." (Luke 5:5) It is a scene that glimpses at the future mission of the Church: when working of their own accord the disciples will grow weary and fail to produce results; but when they work for Christ, the fruit bore will surpass their efforts. Such is the theme explored by Nevertheless -- we can't do it alone, and we don't need to.
The band took its own leap of faith when lead singer Joshua Pearson went off to college. Remaining members A.J. Cheek (lead guitar), Adam Rowe (drums), Brad Jones (guitar) and Adam Wann (bass) continued to practice and write music in Joshua's absence. After much prayer and discussion, they all decided to drop out of college and start touring full time. They developed a following with their energetic shows and released an EP last year, From The Inside Looking In. Of its five songs, only "Lover" makes a repeat appearance on their full-length debut.
This example of God's unconditional love is extended to the relationship between a couple in "Perfect Chemistry" ("I may not be her perfect chemistry/But, if I can love her like You do, thatís all she needs").
Persistence in faith helps at times when a relationship becomes challenging, as expressed in "Patience and Devotion" ("Sweet Patience, the product of our love/We can rise above together/Weíll make it though rain fills the sky/We can fly through any weather/Take heart tonight/We were made for flight/But itís faith that takes us there").
I have a lover
Faithful and true
Cares for me in all that I do
I have a lover
My song You have sung
With love on Your lips and grace on Your tongue
A promise from Heaven
A promise from You
A promise to love, I will hold onto
God of new beginnings to You I cry,
ďTeach me how to love. Teach me how to die.Ē
In death thereís forgiveness
And forgiveness calls on new life
The driving beat throughout reminded me of another band with a run-together name that also released their debut album this year, NEEDTOBREATHE. The only differentiation would be that NEEDTOBREATHE rocks out a little harder, and Nevertheless has the more youthful sound of, say, LFO. The first radio single, ďThe Real,Ē
opens the album in an up-tempo fashion, with hook-filled harmonies and a tasty guitar solo. Lyrically, it dives right into real-life doubts ("Here I am tonight/I canít stand to fight/This feeling of despair I hide/I wonder are You there sometimes/(Sometimes we all wonder)") that can only be answered by faith ("but the truth is unchanging/This is a call to hearts that are fading/So it is sometimes/That I feel this life is far beyond repair/But I know that You are there tonight/(Tonight I wonít give up)").
The title track addresses living life to the fullest, similar to territory
explored in Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying" only without the health crisis ("So here I stand/Iím ready for anything/Just a man, but Iím giving everything/Weíre here only for a second/And then weíre gone when we least expect it/So do more than survive/Letís live like weíre alive"). Curiously, the bridge of "Let It Fall" repeats this same phrase, which may explain why the album is named as it is. This song continues the theme of attempting to go it alone ("perfection without grace/Is such a lonely place to be found/We go Ďround and Ďround and never really move at all") when reliance on God provides a solution ("we are bruised and destined to lose doing this alone/Oh, let it fall and cover us all Ė this grace thatís not our own"). This message is also found in "Losing Innocence" ("We try to come as close as we can/To what we canít and not get caught/But, instead, letís turn and run towards the light").
The album closes with a couple of tunes featuring God in the first
person. "It's Me" is like a loving and patient parent, seeing their child run away to do whatever they will, with an open invitation to return ("Itís me giving you your space/Itís me offering this grace/For the way that youíve wasted all I
gave/when you come back home Iíll be here"). The goofily titled "O'Child"
begins as an acoustic ballad, with a solemn plea ("I want to come closer, but you are so distant/Lately your thoughts are so far/I want to show you all that youíre missing/And Iíll meet you right where you are") and builds to a crescendo to accompany a heavenly summons ("Say that you need me, I know what youíre feeling/You cannot do this alone/I gave you my Word, and I
gave you my life/So that youíll never be on your own").
Clocking in at a brisk 35 minutes, Live Like We're Alive certainly doesn't overstay its welcome. It's not terribly distinctive musically, but what it doesn't have in originality it overcomes with robust presentation. It's always worth listening to a well-played record, and coupled with the group's obvious earnestness, the future looks bright for these guys as they espouse the sentiment of its title.
Nevertheless - "Live Like We're Alive"
01. The Real (3:29)
02. Patience and Devotion (3:21)
03. Time (3:14)
04. Live Like We're Alive (3:46)
05. Lover (4:11)
06. Losing Innocence (3:59)
07. Let It Fall (3:21)
08. Perfect Chemistry (3:26)
09. It's Me (3:00)