Modern rock favorite THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH independently released its first new studio album in over two years, OXYGEN:INHALE, last week amidst 5-star acclaim. This week, the album is the 7th bestselling artist recording in the country as TFK garners its highest ever position on the Billboard Top 200 Current Albums chart at No. 10 while simultaneously becoming the best-selling band on the Top Current Rock Albums chart (just behind the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack at No. 1), No. 6 on the Top Internet and No. 1 on the Top Christian/Gospel Albums charts. The recording also spent most of last week at No. 1 on the iTunes® Rock chart and hit No. 5 on the iTunes overall Albums chart.
Driving the successful debut in part is the recording’s lead single, “Born This Way,” which hits No. 34 at Active Rock this week and becomes a Christian Top 5 Rock hit. NASCAR and Southeastern Conference (SEC) colleges also crank up the song’s volume on ESPN through mid-December as the single continues to roar up the radio charts. The song further picks up well-over a quarter-of-a-million views and 4,000+ likes on YouTube pushing TFK’s YouTube channel views to over 1,100,000 last month alone, a record for the band.
Blazing a trail independently, propelling 2012’s The End Is Where We Begin to the top of sales charts and sparking five Active Rock hits and two Christian No. 1 songs, TFK continues to shatter expectations with OXYGEN:INHALE. Reuniting with Aaron Sprinkle, who co-produced 2003’s Phenomenon, 2009’s Welcome To The Masquerade and The End Is Where We Begin, to once again co-produce alongside front man and guitarist Trevor McNevan, OXYGEN:INHALE features McNevan’s rapid fire and melodic lyrics along with foundational support from Joel Bruyere and Steve Augustine on bass and drums respectively.
McNevan describes the sound of OXYGEN:INHALE as being a “natural evolution” for the band. In an auto-tuned era, the band rejected all the studio trickery that has come to define much of modern music and relied instead on solid performances.
“We wanted to make a raw rock record,” he says. “We decided to strip away all the background sounds and popular over-production, so that what you hear are just the instruments and the voice.”
The music itself is also given room to breathe. It has the raw and organic feel of something being performed in the same room. You hear fingers sliding along the guitar fret board, the metallic ring of cymbals, and vocals that sound like they’re two feet away. The band is stripped down to the bare bones, the core elements of guitar, bass, drums and vocals. Meant to be listened to as an album experience, OXYGEN:INHALE tells a story, a narrative that reads like an open letter to the broken hearted, the lost, the abandoned and the hopeless.
Although there are the adrenaline fueled rock songs TFK has become known for,OXYGEN:INHALE also dares to lower the volume on a few songs and allow the melodies and words to soar.
“To me, the words are as important as the melody,” McNevan says. “The song has to say something important, to connect with the audience on a deeper level. I had this image of prostitutes, addicts, business men/women, people from all walks of life, holding up a sign that reads ‘Breathe Through Me.’ Love includes everyone. We were called to love one another, help and support one another, and to walk through life together.”
While lead single “Born This Way” encourages the listener to be who they are, “Untraveled Road,” which hit No. 2 on iTunes’ Rock Song sales chart and racked up more than 184,000 YouTube views, is like marching orders set to music, with vocals delivered with hip hop urgency before exploding into a chorus that reminds of Linkin Park at their catchiest. “Give It To Me” and “Like A Machine” are signature TFK rockers that keep the adrenaline high and feature McNevan’s incredible vocal range and agility. Songs like “Set Me On Fire,” “Glow” and “Oxygen” find the band moving in a new direction with spare instrumentation, while “Set Me On Fire” is a stadium sized song reminiscent of U2 at their most powerful.
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