After I discovered Christian rock in college, it seemed that all my favorite artists were on Forefront Records. That changed as my musical tastes changed, but Forefront was, for a long time, the leader in CCM/Christian Rock. With the addition of Abandon to their lineup, I think Forefront's time has come again.
Abandon is a group that formed playing as a worship band in their Texas church, and that background shows through in their full-length debut, due out in April. The featured single from the album, "Hold On," is already garnering radio support and increasing the band's exposure. The song encourages the listener to never give up, because they are loved.
There's a theme that runs through the album; the idea of focusing on God more, and focusing on yourself less – even the name of the band points to abandoning yourself and wholly trusting in God. The opening line of "Here Waiting" plays to this theme perfectly – "You can run but I'll be here, waiting, for your return when you get frustrated." The song is about a God we can trust to be there for us, someone who cares and will carry us when we let Him.
Musically, the band seems like a combination of several different styles; I could hear influences from The Beatles, The Killers, even a little U2 in places. Abandon plays a tight, accessible pop alternative rock that sounds as good as anything on the radio, with lyrics that do not deny the band's Christian faith, or try to cover it up. Abandon isn't trying to gain crossover fans by singing vague lyrics; everything they do is designed to point people to God. Vocalist Josh Engler says that "[i]t’s all about the atmosphere of God, the electricity of His presence. I must decrease; He must increase. Healing happens when you’re in the atmosphere of God."
My favorite song has to be "Providence," if for no other reason than it's description of God as "an electric pulse you can't escape." "Providence" tells the story of Peter's denial of Christ, and his eventual restoration – which is one of the most powerful stories in the Bible.
As good as this release is, Abandon is an even better live act. With several upcoming shows in Texas, followed by some May dates in the Midwest, there are plenty of chances to catch this band in concert. And you'll be able to say that you saw them way back when.