For King & Country: Burn the Ships

Joel and Luke Smallbone have been busy since their successful 2014 album Run Wild, Live Free, Love Strong. Joel starred in the movie “Priceless” to dramatize the ills of human trafficking, and the duo generated a single titled after the film as well. Now, they return with a full album in the same, hooky, Imagine Dragons/OneRepublic vein as their previous work, loaded with atmospheric keyboards in soaring arrangements. The lead single, “Joy,” has brought the unexpected strains of the Sunday School song “I’ve got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart” to mainstream channels on satellite radio, while other titles like “God Only Knows” and “Amen” make their religious convictions clear. The title song “Burn the Ships,“ like the 1994 Steven Curtis Chapman song of the same name, recalls the tactic used by the conquistador Cortés to ensure that his men stayed true to their assigned task rather than retreating to the comforts of home. “Hold Her” dramatizes the relational separations caused by a traveling musician’s life on the road. This album deserves a listen from all fans of hopeful, faithful pop.

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