When I initially discovered that Akissforjersey was releasing an album, I had to do a double take, given that the band split up at the beginning of 2009 and hasn’t released an LP in six years. Don’t stick a fork in these guys yet, because AKFJ brings something to the table that both old-time fans and general fans of the post-hardcore Christian rock scene will be happy with in New Bodies.
The album wastes no time grabbing your attention, bringing memorable lyrics and smooth guitar riffs in the opening track “War”. Despite the title bringing images of physical warfare to the listener’s mind, the track takes an interesting twist, regarding the war to a fight within ourselves. This becomes evident when vocalist Zach Dawson shouts the lines “tie down the hatches/ armor the gates/ the war is within you/ and there’s no escape.”
AKFJ has an interesting way of breaking up monotony in the album by providing hints of other genres within certain songs. In particular, “The Sound of Revolution” has hints of pop-punk within it, given the drum patterns of Joey Allen in the intro and the backup vocals with Dawson singing in the foreground. The chorus is also very infectious, not only within the lyrics themselves, but within Dawson’s vocal style. The track also features guest vocals from Kevin Bryant.
Within “Widow/Maker”, you get to see the band’s softer side through the form of a ballad. I’m usually not the biggest fan of ballads, simply because I feel like it doesn’t fit the vocal style of typical post-hardcore bands that attempt them. However, this isn’t the case for AKFJ, because Dawson possesses a voice that can be soothing when it needs to be. During the song’s chorus, you get a feel for struggles within the self, reminding the listener why AKFJ is labeled as a Christian band.
Another song with strong Christian undertones is “Bones”. The song begins with lyrics sung in a capella, which is similar to what Underoath used to do in some of their songs. This song has a Christian meaning within the chorus with the lyrics “breathe life into these bones, speak love into my soul/I want to stand for something more, I want a heart that can endure.” In my eyes, this track is among the strongest on the album.
Though the opening track of the album woke you up, shook you and punched you in the face, the ending track does just the opposite. “Everything New” is another ballad with a piano melody, with Allen focusing more on the snare of his drum set than any other piece. I found it fitting for the album to end on a ballad, because it leaves something that the listener can reflect on. New Bodies takes a few listens before its songs begin to stand out and stick, but once they do, they stay stuck.