Unconditional is the fourth studio album from Texas rockers Memphis May Fire. The album is due for release March 25, 2014 and is currently streaming on YouTube. This album, according to the band in an interview with AP will “have more of a theatrical feel, as well as orchestral presence” like the “soundtrack to an action film.” It was also stated that Unconditional “shows maturity” and that older and younger fans will appreciate the sound. There were three singles released; ‘No Ordinary Love’, ‘Sleepless Nights’, and ‘Beneath the Skin’ released February 6th, February 24th and March 11th respectively. On March 13th the album was up and streaming on YouTube; frontman Matty Mullins tweeted “sometimes you gotta leak your own record!” While Memphis May Fire doesn’t pigeonhole themselves as a ‘Christian’ band, there is very much a religious overtone on Unconditional. This theme is most predominant in the tracks ‘No Ordinary Love’; “God if you’re there I need to hear you now”, “I tried to save myself but I failed!” ‘The Answer’; “I’ll look to you when there’s trouble at sea because I can walk on water when I believe. Now I know it’s true, you are the answer to everything” (referencing Matthew 14:22-33 in the Bible). ‘Pharisees’, which calling someone a “modern day Pharisees” is not a good thing. Pharisees were “the most bitter and deadly opponents to Jesus Christ and His message” so, yeah not a compliment. And finally ‘Divinity’ “I pray for clarity, for those who are questioning it all. I pray they’ll hear the answers when they call. You are special. You are loved! A perfect reflection of heaven above. God makes no mistakes, you are a miracle story!” Another track that stands out is “Need to Be” which seems to be written from the perspective of a band member, perhaps personal experience from Mullins, when fans tell them that their band/music, etc saved their life; “With every letter I read, I see their desperate cries to find the missing piece. They just want to believe someone can take away the burdens they carry. Who am I to be here? I am no different than them.” All in all Unconditional is great. Perhaps a bit ‘generic’ when it comes down it musically, but to say it downright sucks is a huge injustice to all of the work and feeling that was obviously put in to this album. It’s phenomenal lyrically and blew my expectations out of the water. If you haven’t listened to the stream I highly suggest you do!
Rating. 4/5: Hands down one of the best albums of the year, in my book at least! Having grown up (and still living in) a Christian household, it’s hard to find contemporary ‘Christian’ music that isn’t hokey (my opinion). While again they don’t identify as a religious group, MMF is definitely sending a message. ‘Beneath the Skin’ has to be my favorite track. There are songs that make you sad because of their content, or the story behind it, but when you can relate to it and it hits you square in the chest is when you know it’s a damn good song. This album, in it’s entirety is fan-freakin’-tastic! MMF deserves a huge job well done!