Review Rating: Add It To My Playlist! [4.6 / 5]
Faith-based record label and artist collective Influence Music released their sophomore album, Rebels, today. Originating from Influence Church in Anaheim Hills, CA, the group is comprised of artists Matt Gilman, Melody Noel (who has written for Jennifer Lopez, Macy Gray, Kelly Rowland), Michael Ketterer (finalist on America's Got Talent), and Whitney Medina, a few of LA’s most gifted songwriters, producers and creatives. Similar to the process for their first album, Rebels was the outcome of a music writing camp collaborative in CA. The result is a 10-track album born from a desire to pursue those in dark places whom religion can quickly judge or exclude. This album defies predictability or categorization. The tracks combine many different mediums of spiritual experiences into a unique collection of worship.
Rebels starts off with its title track, using a pulsing synth introduction to prepare the way for Ketterer’s vocal entrance and then percussion. The first chorus focuses on his vocals, using subtle accompaniment and finger snaps to further establish the song’s groove and tone. The lyrics embody the album’s call to action, calling us to walk alongside the broken, addicted, saved, and dreamers alike. The bridge transition simplifies to guitar and beat hits that start to build with vocals, leading to a chorus that is repeated until the end.
Influence Music shows they have no boundaries on the type of creative work they pursue. Latin-entitled “Responsum A Patre” is an instrumental piece that uses uplifting arrangement in lieu of vocals. The track begins with a descending piano melody joined by sustained chorus tones, soon bolstered by guitar and percussion. The same triumphant melody carries throughout the entire piece, adding different instrumentation or intonations with each repetition. In contrast, “Soil and Sky (Interlude)” is a powerful piece of spoken word. Beautiful and majestic, it asserts how we are not of this world and proclaims our ultimate purpose to bring others to God through support, empathy, patience and kindness. Both of these tracks are interesting, grab your attention, and stretch and pull your emotions.
The musical emotion deepens with “Right Here (Hallelujah),” as Medina makes an entrance alongside piano, synth tones and snare rim hits keeping the beat. Sweet vocal harmony paints a calming, soothing and smooth tune. The song transitions from prayerful to praiseful in the bridge, as Medina bursts open with vocals, exclaiming thanks to God for always being near us. The song concludes with a repetition of the final phrase of the chorus, sung by an ensemble clapping to the beat and freestyling in worship. Combining this interest in choral flair and the group’s unique stamp is “Rebels Finale.” Starting with the ascending synth melody from “Right Here (Hallelujah)”, the listener soon recognizes this track is an intentionally and skillfully arranged mash-up of all the other songs on the album. The song features the “Voices of Hope” Children’s Choir, a non-profit program striving to make music, hope, self-esteem and teamwork available to all children despite social or economic backgrounds.
Influence Music is blessed with a landscape of artists, creative abilities and mentors that have melded their collective power to make something unique and special with Rebels. The variety of musical themes and talents show the group’s complexity and depth. From the lyrics to the inclusion of the “Voices of Hope” choir, the listener ultimately feels the group’s passion to bring God through worship to everyone that encounters their music.
To learn more about this new release from Influence Music, catch read our exclusive interview today.