About This Beautiful Republic
Frontman Ben Olin and his bandmates are here to remind us that we do not see things as we should. In fact, they want us to know that we usually see things completely wrong. And This Beautiful Republic thanks God for it. “The way we see things dictates what we believe, and how we live. We, as Christians—if we see things the way they truly are in light of sin—can only see ourselves as totally undeserving of love from God. But despite our sin, God sees us through a filter of Jesus’ blood as pure, beautiful, and precious. His perception is the complete opposite of ours, and that's incredible to think about.”
“The name This Beautiful Republic signifies a kingdom of faith and love,” explains lead vocalist Ben Olin. “And we chose our album’s title to emphasize the common ground that all humans share. No matter who you are or what you do, the need for a savior is vital. So we hope, beyond anything else, to show people this savior, Christ, and to give listeners a brush with eternity.”
The band released their debut album, Even Heroes Need A Parachute, in 2007.
To say that This Beautiful Republic’s debut release evokes strong, positive emotion would be an understatement. Sonically, the band lies somewhere between Switchfoot, Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, and Taking Back Sunday. Heavy guitars, heavier hooks. But beyond powerful, commercial rock choruses and strong, dynamic, melodic songwriting is an element not found many places. It is the presence of something other-worldly that sets this band apart.
“Big choruses are an important part of the songs,” explains Olin. “Anthemic, driving melodies that people can sing along to is what we are about. And they are written with the live show in mind. We want the crowd to be able to partake in this and grab hold of it. We intend to make the music about the listener, not just ourselves.”
It is rare that a debut effort contains such strength from front to back. Consider the track “Cloud Cover.” It is an exercise in ambiance, which moves to a wonderful, wide-open expanse that is the song’s hook. Straightforward in its evolution, the song incorporates purposeful, direct instrumentation as well as structure, taking the listener deep into a heavenly presence. Similarly, debut radio single, “Jesus to the World,” contains a forthright chorus that lingers long after the song is finished, beckoning listeners to connect with heaven. This Beautiful Republic ’s rock fills, beats, and riffs offer enough potency to satisfy the most ravenous audience. Added texture intelligently placed with keyboards and samples also make the record three-dimensional.
If the bar was set high by This Beautiful Republic’s eponymous debut Even Heroes Need A Parachute, it has now been completely obliterated by their sophomore effort Perceptions (2008).
“We wrote harder, more in-your-face rock songs, as well as softer, vertically-oriented songs for this record,” admits Olin. “We were creative with them, writing long outros, unique bridges, used time signature changes, and other elements we've been wanting to use for so long. We feel like this is a much better representation of who we are on almost every level. It's a very satisfying and unifying feeling...all of us believe in this record wholeheartedly.”
At first listen there are at least half a dozen tracks with heavy single potential. The band left nothing to chance, hammering home an album that is 100% complete from front to back. While beautiful songs such as “Learning to Fall” could easily become worship staples at festivals and crusades worldwide, jams like “No Turning Back” will grab you by the neck like a vice.
The opening track, “Pain” is a love song for all practical purposes, though its subject is his Creator rather than a mortal mate. He vividly describes this perfect, unconditional love using human terms, causing the listener to see divine relationship as a tangible idea “Learning to Fall” too displays a refreshing openness, as Olin admits to the times he has chosen the opposite of God’s will. He explains, “it’s a song about knowing the truth and actively going against it …but it also focuses on our Father’s willingness to always take us back and fully restore our relationship with Him.”
On “For the Life of Me” Olin sums up the record’s overriding theme: that God does not see us for our mistakes: For the life of me, why’d you bear my chains? For the life of me why’d you walk to Calvary ? For the life of me I can’t explain, the reason you died and the reason you came was for the life of me. What do you see in me? I’m a leper not a King.
“God has gifted us in this way, so that’s the main avenue we use," explains Olin. "We want people to have a unique encounter with Him using the most powerful medium possible ... music. The confidence to risk doing this comes from the provisions we have experienced. He has always been faithful to help us every step of the way. So, we are going to go where He wants us and embrace His people along the way. If nothing else, we want all to know that there is a real beautiful republic beyond this world, waiting for us to take hold of it in the here and now.”