By Amy Sondova It’s not every band that can mix worship anthems and alternative rock songs with a screamo edge; but every band isn’t Kutless. Within 24 hours of releasing To Know That You’re Alive, the album was already #15 in iTunes top-selling albums. Featuring a blend of songs on both acoustic and electric guitars, Kutless has found combination that works.
The album’s title track “To Know That You’re Alive” has an urgent and dramatic feeling as lead singer Jon Micah Sumrall sings, “Right now you’re bruised and bleeding/ I see the hurt within your eyes/ I know your pain is for a reason/ You need to feel just to know that you’re alive.” The timely song speaks volumes into the lives of a culture saturated with self-injury and self-hatred.
“Dying to Become” follows a similar vein using an eerie piano/rhymn-heavy intro. The song builds musically to heighten emotion, and is laden with lyrics that scream of repentance for “disrespecting” God, “We draw the lines and we cross them, too/We don’t know what we’ve done/But it’s what we do/Dying to become more like You.” Other songs follow also have gut-wrenching messages of the pain humans experience on planet earth as we are isolated from God and one another, especially “I Do Not Belong.”
Sumrall’s songwriting reaches new heights with “Promise You” a song that addresses walking away from an abusive situation. Strong images (“tears wash the blood off my face”), strength in the impossible (“God will help me find a way”), and words of forgiveness (“Forgiveness can’t take the scars away/ But I forgive you anyway) tell a full story without over-simplifying the injustice of domestic violence.
However, To Know That You’re Alive not only seeks to address the broken and bleeding. It also guides listeners into worship with songs like “Complete”, “You,” and “Guiding Me Home”. Encompassing so many different styles into one album keeps listeners interested in the music. To Know You’re Alive also shows that Kutless is a band that can’t be boxed into one genre, but showcases its talent by keeping the music diverse.